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Substitution Between Individual and Cultural Capital: Pre-Migration Labor Supply, Culture and US Labor Market Outcomes Among Immigrant Woman

  • Blau, Francine D.

    ()

    (Cornell University)

  • Kahn, Lawrence M.

    ()

    (Cornell University)

In this paper we use New Immigrant Survey data to investigate the impact of immigrant women's own labor supply prior to migrating and female labor supply in their source country to provide evidence on the role of human capital and culture in affecting their labor supply and wages in the United States. We find, as expected, that women who migrate from countries with relatively high levels of female labor supply work more in the United States. Moreover, most of this effect remains when we further control for each woman’s own labor supply prior to migrating, which itself also strongly affects labor supply in the United States. Importantly, we find a significantly negative interaction between pre-migration labor supply and source country female labor supply. We obtain broadly similar effects analyzing the determinants of hourly earnings among the employed in the United States, although the results are not always significant. These results suggest an important role for culture and norms in affecting immigrant women's labor supply, since the effect of source country female labor supply on immigrant women's US work hours is still strong even controlling for the immigrant’s own pre-migration labor supply. The negative interaction effects between previous work experience and source country female labor supply on women's US work hours and wages suggest that cultural capital and individual job-related human capital act as substitutes in affecting preparedness for work in the US.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5890.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Journal of Human Capital
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5890
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  1. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli, 2006. "Fertility: The Role of Culture and Family Experience," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 552-561, 04-05.
  2. Ilana Redstone Akresh, 2008. "Occupational Trajectories of Legal US Immigrants: Downgrading and Recovery," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(3), pages 435-456.
  3. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
  4. Derek Neal, 2004. "The Measured Black-White Wage Gap among Women Is Too Small," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S1-S28, February.
  5. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M, 1997. "Wage Inequality and Family Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 72-97, January.
  6. 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.
  7. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2005. "Unequal Pay or Unequal Employment? A Cross-Country Analysis of Gender Gaps," Boston University - Department of Economics - Macroeconomics Working Papers Series WP2005-013, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Aug 2008.
  8. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  9. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M. & Papps, Kerry L., 2008. "Gender, Source Country Characteristics and Labor Market Assimilation among Immigrants: 1980-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 3725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Darren Lubotsky, 2000. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Labor and Demography 0004006, EconWPA.
  11. Fernández, Raquel & Fogli, Alessandra, 2005. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work and Fertility," CEPR Discussion Papers 5089, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Neal, Derek A & Johnson, William R, 1996. "The Role of Premarket Factors in Black-White Wage Differences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 869-95, October.
  13. Antecol, Heather, 2000. "An examination of cross-country differences in the gender gap in labor force participation rates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 409-426, July.
  14. 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 463-89, October.
  15. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding International Differences in the Gender Pay Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 106-144, January.
  16. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980-2000," NBER Working Papers 11230, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Juhn, Chinhui, 1992. "Decline of Male Labor Market Participation: The Role of Declining Market Opportunities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 79-121, February.
  18. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Joan Y. Moriarty & Andre Portela Souza, 2003. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 429-447, March.
  19. Hoyt Bleakley & Aimee Chin, 2004. "Language Skills and Earnings: Evidence from Childhood Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 481-496, May.
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