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Intergenerational Progress of Mexican-Origin Workers in the U.S. Labor Market

Listed author(s):
  • Trejo, Stephen

    ()

    (University of Texas at Austin)

Using unique Current Population Survey data from November 1979 and 1989, this paper compares the wage structure across generations of Mexican-origin men. I find that the sizable earnings advantage U.S.-born Mexican Americans enjoy over Mexican immigrants arises not just from intergenerational improvements in years of schooling and English proficiency, but also from increased returns to human capital for Mexican-origin workers who were born and educated in the United States. Even if we consider immigrants who have worked in the United States for 40 years and who therefore have had ample time for labor market assimilation, my estimates indicate that a discrete jump in earnings and the wage structure occurs between the first and second generations. Progress seems to stall after the second generation, however, as the much more modest gains in schooling and English fluency that occur between the second and third generations do not appear to raise the earnings of Mexican Americans any further.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 377.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2001
Publication status: published in: Journal of Human Resources, 2003, 38 (3), 467-489
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp377
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  1. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1992. "The Assimilation of Immigrants in the U. S. Labor Market," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 67-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
  3. Leonard A. Carlson & Caroline Swartz, 1988. "The Earnings of Women and Ethnic Minorities, 1959–1979," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(4), pages 530-546, July.
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  6. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
  7. Duleep, Harriet & Regets, Mark, 2002. "The Elusive Concept of Immigrant Quality: Evidence from 1970-1990," IZA Discussion Papers 631, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
  9. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
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  11. Chiswick, Barry R, 1977. "Sons of Immigrants: Are They at an Earnings Disadvantage?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 376-380, February.
  12. Darren Lubotsky, 2007. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 820-867, October.
  13. Bernt Bratsberg, 2002. "School Quality and Returns to Education of U.S. Immigrants," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(2), pages 177-198, April.
  14. Geoffrey Carliner, 1996. "The Wages and Language Skills of U.S. Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 5763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  17. James D. Gwartney & James E. Long, 1978. "The Relative Earnings of Blacks and other Minorities," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 31(3), pages 336-346, April.
  18. Darren Lubotsky, 2000. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Working Papers 824, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  19. repec:pri:rpdevs:lubotsky_chutes_or_ladders.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Darren Lubotsky, 2000. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Working Papers 824, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  21. Robert F. Schoeni, 1997. "New Evidence on the Economic Progress of Foreign-Born Men in the 1970s and 1980s," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 683-740.
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