IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp631.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Elusive Concept of Immigrant Quality: Evidence from 1970-1990

Author

Listed:
  • Duleep, Harriet

    (College of William and Mary)

  • Regets, Mark

    (National Foundation for American Policy)

Abstract

The labor market "quality" of immigrants is a subject of debate among immigration researchers, and a major public policy concern. However, traditional methods of measuring human capital are particularly difficult to apply to recently arrived immigrants. Many factors that have a negative effect on entry earnings also increase either the incentive or the opportunity for faster human capital investment and earning growth. In addition, many country-of-origin acquired skills that are not immediately valued in the U.S. labor market are useful to the acquisition of U.S. skills. Thus entry earnings are not a good measure of the stock of immigrant human capital. This article presents a model of immigrant human capital investment and, using 1970- 1990 census data, presents strong evidence of a systematic and important inverse relationship between initial immigrant earnings and subsequent earnings growth. This result – which persists even after accounting for differences in the immigration flows from different countries, sampling error, and the effects of emigration – is fundamentally different from both earlier cross-sectional estimates and more recent pooled models that constrain cohort growth rates to be equal. Although our model provides theoretical support for an inverse relationship only when source country human capital is held constant, faster earnings growth for low-entry-earnings immigrants is found empirically even when age and education are not controlled for. The immigrant human capital investment model presented here explores general principles that may apply to other labor market transitions that involve skill transferability – including occupational change and labor market reentry.

Suggested Citation

  • Duleep, Harriet & Regets, Mark, 2002. "The Elusive Concept of Immigrant Quality: Evidence from 1970-1990," IZA Discussion Papers 631, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp631
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp631.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David E. Bloom & Morley Gunderson, 1991. "An Analysis of the Earnings of Canadian Immigrants," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 321-342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Recent Immigrants: Unexpected Implications for Crime and Incarceration," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(4), pages 654-679, July.
    4. Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz, 2018. "The Labor Market Effects of Immigration in the United States and Europe: Substitution vs. Complementarity," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Francisco L Rivera-Batiz (ed.), International and Interregional Migration Theory and Evidence, chapter 4, pages 47-74, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352-352.
    6. Green, David A, 1999. "Immigrant Occupational Attainment: Assimilation and Mobility over Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 49-79, January.
    7. Fry, Richard, 1997. "The increase in idleness of immigrant arrivals: The role of age at arrival, refugees and country of origin," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(Supplemen), pages 209-228.
    8. 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.
    9. Sherrie A. Kossoudji, 1989. "Immigrant Worker Assimilation: Is It a Labor Market Phenomenon?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 494-527.
    10. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1.
    11. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stephen J. Trejo, 2003. "Intergenerational Progress of Mexican-Origin Workers in the U.S. Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
    2. Gil S. Epstein & Ira N. Gang, 2009. "Ethnicity, assimilation, and harassment in the labor market," Research in Labor Economics, in: Amelie F. Constant & Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Klaus F. Zimmermann (ed.), Ethnicity and Labor Market Outcomes, volume 29, pages 67-88, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    3. Harriet Orcutt Duleep, 2013. "Country of Origin and Immigrant Earnings: Evidence from 1960-1990," Working Papers 131, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
    4. Carl Lin, 2016. "How Do Immigrants From Taiwan Fare In The U.S. Labor Market?," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(05), pages 1-38, December.
    5. George J. Borjas & Rachel M. Friedberg, 2009. "Recent Trends in the Earnings of New Immigrants to the United States," Working Papers 2009-13, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    6. Cláudia Duarte & Sónia Cabral, 2013. "Mind the gap! The relative wages of immigrants in the Portuguese labour market," Working Papers w201305, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    7. Duleep, Harriet Orcutt & Jaeger, David A. & McHenry, Peter, 2021. "On Immigration and Native Entrepreneurship," CEPR Discussion Papers 15920, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2007. "Does immigration affect wages? A look at occupation-level evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 757-773, October.
    9. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Boustan, 2017. "Immigration in American Economic History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1311-1345, December.
    10. Serena Huang, 2011. "The international transferability of human capital in nursing," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 145-163, September.
    11. 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.
    12. Harriet Duleep & Mark Regets, 2017. "Family-friendly and human-capital-based immigration policy," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 389-389, October.
    13. Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht, 2011. "Migration and Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 327-439, Elsevier.
    14. Green, David A. & Worswick, Christopher, 2012. "Immigrant earnings profiles in the presence of human capital investment: Measuring cohort and macro effects," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 241-259.
    15. Arbel, Yuval & Tobol, Yossef & Siniver, Erez, 2012. "Social Involvement and Level of Household Income among Immigrants: New Evidence from the Israeli Experience," IZA Discussion Papers 6416, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Alcobendas, Miguel Angel & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria, 2009. "Immigrants' Assimilation Process in a Segmented Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 4394, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Grenier, Gilles, 2001. "Immigration, langues et performance économique : le Québec et l’Ontario entre 1970 et 1995," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 77(3), pages 305-338, septembre.
    18. Tse, Michael M. H. & Maani, Sholeh A., 2016. "The Labour Market Effect of Immigration: Accounting for Effective Immigrant Work Experience in New Zealand," IZA Discussion Papers 10422, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Duleep, Harriet & Liu, Xingfei & Regets, Mark, 2014. "Country of Origin and Immigrant Earnings, 1960-2000: A Human Capital Investment Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 8628, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Edward Funkhouser, 2000. "Convergence in Employment Rates of Immigrants," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 143-184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Maude Toussaint-Comeau, 2016. "Mexican immigration, occupational clustering, and the local labor market adjustment of African-American workers," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, December.
    22. Gil Epstein, 2009. "Willingness to Assimilate and Ethnicity," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 35, pages 1-1.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Mattoo, Aaditya & Neagu, Ileana Cristina & Özden, Çağlar, 2012. "Performance of skilled migrants in the U.S.: A dynamic approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 829-843.
    2. Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht, 2011. "Migration and Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 327-439, Elsevier.
    3. Neagu, Ileana Cristina, 2009. "Career placement of skilled migrants in the U.S. labor market : a dynamic approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4891, The World Bank.
    4. Amelie F. Constant & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2011. "Migration, Ethnicity and Economic Integration," Chapters, in: Miroslav N. Jovanović (ed.), International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume III, chapter 7, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. George J. Borjas, 2015. "The Slowdown in the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants: Aging and Cohort Effects Revisited Again," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 483-517.
    6. Abdulla, Kanat, 2020. "Human capital accumulation: Evidence from immigrants in low-income countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 951-973.
    7. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2011. "Economic Impacts of Immigration: A Survey," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 1-32, Spring.
    8. Duleep, Harriet & Liu, Xingfei & Regets, Mark, 2018. "Country of Origin, Earnings Convergence, and Human Capital Investment: A New Method for the Analysis of U.S. Immigrant Economic Assimilation," GLO Discussion Paper Series 247, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. Leilanie Basilio & Thomas K. Bauer & Anica Kramer, 2017. "Transferability of Human Capital and Immigrant Assimilation: An Analysis for Germany," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 31(3), pages 245-264, September.
    10. Licht, Georg & Steiner, Viktor, 1993. "Assimilation, labour market experience, and earnings profiles of temporary and permanent immigrant workers in germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 93-06, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    11. Stephen J. Trejo, 2003. "Intergenerational Progress of Mexican-Origin Workers in the U.S. Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 38(3).
    12. Hou, Feng & Picot, Garnett, 2003. "The Rise in Low-income Rates Among Immigrants in Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003198e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    13. Picot, Garnett & Sweetman, Arthur, 2005. "The Deteriorating Economic Welfare of Immigrants and Possible Causes: Update 2005," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2005262e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    14. Harriet Orcutt Duleep, 2013. "Country of Origin and Immigrant Earnings: Evidence from 1960-1990," Working Papers 131, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
    15. Duleep, Harriet & Liu, Xingfei & Regets, Mark, 2014. "Country of Origin and Immigrant Earnings, 1960-2000: A Human Capital Investment Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 8628, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Duleep, Harriet Orcutt & Regets, Mark C., 1997. "The decline in immigrant entry earnings: Less transferable skills or lower ability?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(Supplemen), pages 189-208.
    17. Duleep, Harriet Orcutt & Jaeger, David A. & McHenry, Peter, 2021. "On Immigration and Native Entrepreneurship," CEPR Discussion Papers 15920, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Hipólito Simón & Raúl Ramos & Esteban Sanromá, 2011. "Occupational mobility of immigrants in a low skilled economy. The Spanish case," Working Papers 2011/28, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    19. Christian Dustmann & Joseph-Simon Görlach, 2016. "The Economics of Temporary Migrations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 98-136, March.
    20. Martin Kahanec & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2008. "Migration, the Quality of the Labour Force and Economic Inequality," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 781, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; migration; human capital investment; skill transferability; assimilation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp631. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Holger Hinte (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.iza.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.