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Immigrant Networks and Their Implications for Occupational Choice and Wages

  • Patel, Krishna


    (Georgetown University)

  • Vella, Francis


    (Georgetown University)

This paper employs United States Census data to study the occupational allocation of immigrants. The data reveal that the occupational shares of various ethnic groups have grown drastically in regional labor markets over the period 1980 to 2000. We examine the extent to which this growth can be attributed to network effects. That is, we examine the relationship between the occupational choice decision of recently arrived immigrants with those of established immigrants from the same country. We also consider the earnings implications of these immigrant networks for recent arrivals. The empirical evidence strongly suggests the operation of networks in the immigrant labor market. First, we find evidence that new arrivals are locating in the same occupations as their countrymen. Moreover, this location decision is operating at the level of regional labor markets. Second, we find that individuals who locate in the "popular" occupations of their countrymen enjoy a large and positive effect on their hourly wage and their level of weekly earnings.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3217.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3217
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  1. Javier Suarez & Samuel Bentolila & Claudio Michelacci, 2004. "Social Contacts and Occupational Choice," 2004 Meeting Papers 593, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. George J. Borjas, 2001. "Does Immigration Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 69-134.
  3. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2005. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 927, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  4. Bayer, Patrick & Ross, Stephen L., 2005. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 8, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  5. Topa, Giorgio, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 261-95, April.
  6. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
  7. Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1990. "Job Search Outcomes for the Employed and Unemployed," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 637-55, June.
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