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The Importance of Heterogeneity When Examining Immigrant Education-Occupation Mismatch: Evidence from New Zealand

  • Poot, Jacques


    (University of Waikato)

  • Stillman, Steven


    (University of Otago)

Many immigrants are overqualified in their first job after arrival in the host country. Education-occupation mismatch can affect the economic integration of immigrants and the returns to education and experience. The extent of this problem has been measured in recent years by means of micro level data in Australia, North America and Europe. However, these papers have typically ignored the importance of allowing for heterogeneity, in particular by qualification level and years in the destination country. In this paper, we use micro data from the 1996, 2001 and 2006 New Zealand censuses to examine differences between each migrant’s actual years of education and the estimated typical years of education in the narrowly defined occupation in which they work. We find that migrants living in New Zealand for less than 5 years are on average overeducated, while earlier migrants are on average undereducated. However, once accounting for heterogeneity, we find that both overeducated and undereducated migrants become, with increasing years of residence in New Zealand, more similar to comparable native born. Convergence from overeducation is stronger than from undereducation.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5211.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5211
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  1. Barrett, Alan & Duffy, David, 2007. "Are Ireland’s Immigrants Integrating into its Labour Market?," IZA Discussion Papers 2838, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Lindley, Joanne, 2009. "The over-education of UK immigrants and minority ethnic groups: Evidence from the Labour Force Survey," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 80-89, February.
  3. Anna Maria Mayda, 2004. "Who is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," Development Working Papers 187, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  4. Cristina Fernández & Ana Carolina Ortega Masagué, 2006. "Labor Market Assimilation of Immigrants in Spain: Employment at the Expense of Bad Job-Matches?," Working Papers 2006-21, FEDEA.
  5. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2005. "Why Is the Payoff to Schooling Smaller for Immigrants?," IZA Discussion Papers 1731, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2009. "The international transferability of immigrants' human capital," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 162-169, April.
  7. Papps, Kerry L. & Newell, James O., 2002. "Identifying Functional Labour Market Areas in New Zealand: A Reconnaissance Study Using Travel-to-Work Data," IZA Discussion Papers 443, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Lewis Evans & Arthur Grimes & Bryce Wilkinson, 1996. "Economic Reform in New Zealand 1984-95: The Pursuit of Efficiency," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1856-1902, December.
  9. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-80, June.
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