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Immigrant Networks and Their Implications for Occupational Choice and Wages

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  • Patel, Krishna

    (Georgetown University)

  • Vella, Francis

    (Georgetown University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Patel, Krishna & Vella, Francis, 2007. "Immigrant Networks and Their Implications for Occupational Choice and Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 3217, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3217
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2008. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1150-1196, December.
    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.
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    4. 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.
    5. Samuel Bentolila & Claudio Michelacci & Javier Suarez, 2010. "Social Contacts and Occupational Choice," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 20-45, January.
    6. Giorgio Topa, 2001. "Social Interactions, Local Spillovers and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 261-295.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    network effects; immigrants; occupational choice; earnings;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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