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Gender, Source Country Characteristics and Labor Market Assimilation Among Immigrants: 1980-2000

  • Francine D. Blau
  • Lawrence M. Kahn
  • Kerry L. Papps

We use 1980, 1990 and 2000 Census data to study the impact of source country characteristics on the labor supply assimilation profiles of married adult immigrant women and men. Women migrating from countries where women have high relative labor force participation rates work substantially more than women coming from countries with lower relative female labor supply rates, and this gap is roughly constant with time in the United States. These differences are substantial and hold up even when we control for wage offers and family formation decisions, as well as when we control for the emigration rate from the United States to the source country. Men's labor supply assimilation profiles are unaffected by source country female labor supply, a result that suggests that the female findings reflect notions of gender roles rather than overall work orientation. Findings for another indicator of traditional gender roles, source country fertility rates, are broadly similar, with substantial and persistent negative effects of source country fertility on the labor supply of female immigrants except when we control for presence of children, in which case the negative effects only become evident after ten years in the United States.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14387.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Publication status: published as Blau, Kahn, and Papps, “Gender, Source Country Characteristics, and Labor Market Assimilation among Immigrants,“ The Review of Economics and Statistics vol 93, No. 1 (Feb 2011): 43-58
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14387
Note: LS
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  1. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-73, October.
  2. Darren Lubotsky, 2000. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Labor and Demography 0004006, EconWPA.
  3. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M., 2006. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 2180, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Assimilation and Changes in Cohort Quality Revisited: What Happened to Immigrant Earnings in the 1980s?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 201-45, April.
  8. Francine D. Blau, 1992. "The Fertility of Immigrant Women: Evidence from High-Fertility Source Countries," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration and the Workforce: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 93-134 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Guillermina Jasso & Mark Rosenzweig, 1982. "Estimating the emigration rates of legal immigrants using administrative and survey data: The 1971 cohort of immigrants to the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 279-290, August.
  14. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Joan Y. Moriarty & Andre Portela Souza, 2002. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 9051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1997. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 705-27, September.
  17. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Trends in U. S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2095, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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