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Technological Change, Occupational Tasks and Declining Immigrant Outcomes: Implications for Earnings and Income Inequality in Canada

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  • Casey Warman
  • Christopher Worswick

Abstract

The earnings and occupational task requirements of immigrants to Canada are analyzed. The growing education levels of immigrants in the 1990s have not led to a large improvement in earnings as one might expect if growing computerization and the resulting technological change was leading to a rising return to non-routine cognitive skills and a greater wage return to university education. Controlling for education, we find a pronounced cross-arrival cohort decline in earnings that coincided with cross-cohort declines in cognitive occupational task requirements and cross-cohort increases in manual occupational task requirements. The immigrant earnings outcomes had only a small effect on overall Canadian earnings inequality.

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  • Casey Warman & Christopher Worswick, 2015. "Technological Change, Occupational Tasks and Declining Immigrant Outcomes: Implications for Earnings and Income Inequality in Canada," NBER Working Papers 21307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21307
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    2. David A. Green & Christopher Worswick, 2017. "Canadian economics research on immigration through the lens of theories of justice," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 50(5), pages 1262-1303, December.
    3. David Albouy & Alex Chernoff & Chandler Lutz & Casey Warman, 2019. "Local Labor Markets in Canada and the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(S2), pages 533-594.
    4. Eva Moreno‐Galbis & Jeremy Tanguy & Ahmed Tritah & Catherine Laffineur, 2019. "Immigrants’ Wage Performance in a Routine Biased Technological Change Era: France 1994–2012," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(4), pages 623-673, October.
    5. Susumu Imai & Derek Stacey & Casey Warman, 2019. "From engineer to taxi driver? Language proficiency and the occupational skills of immigrants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 52(3), pages 914-953, August.
    6. Alicia Adsera & Ana Ferrer, 2015. "Occupational Skills and Labour Market Progression of Canadian Immigrant Women," Working Papers 1504, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2015.
    7. Younjun Kim & Eric Thompson, 2021. "Routine-Biased Technological Change and Declining Employment Rate of Immigrants," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 319-353, June.
    8. Sarah Burkinshaw & Yaz Terajima & Carolyn A. Wilkins, 2022. "Income Inequality in Canada," Discussion Papers 2022-16, Bank of Canada.
    9. Charles M. Beach, 2016. "Changing income inequality: A distributional paradigm for Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 49(4), pages 1229-1292, November.
    10. Stephen R.G. Jones & Fabian Lange & W. Craig Riddell & Casey Warman, 2023. "The great Canadian recovery: The impact of COVID‐19 on Canada's labour market," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 56(3), pages 791-838, August.
    11. Benoit Dostie, 2018. "Polarisation du marché du travail, structure industrielle et croissance économique," CIRANO Project Reports 2018rp-02, CIRANO.
    12. Jiang, Shiyu, 2020. "Task Supply, Wage Earning, and Segmentation among Natives and Two Generations of Immigrants," MPRA Paper 103990, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Aydede, Yigit & Dar, Atul A., 2022. "Native-born-immigrant wage gap revisited: The role of market imperfections in Canada," CLEF Working Paper Series 50, Canadian Labour Economics Forum (CLEF), University of Waterloo.
    14. Angela Daley & Min Hu & Casey Warman, 2019. "Language proficiency and immigrants’ economic integration," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 469-469, December.
    15. Wen Ci & Michelle Laing & Marcel Voia & Christopher Worswick, 2020. "Immigrant earnings returns to post‐migration education: Evidence for Canada, 1999–2013," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(4), pages 1599-1617, November.
    16. Adsera, Alicia & Ferrer, Ana, 2015. "The Effect of Linguistic Proximity on the Occupational Assimilation of Immigrant Men in Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 9499, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Adserà, Alícia & Ferrer, Ana, 2016. "Occupational skills and labour market progression of married immigrant women in Canada," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 88-98.
    18. Doyle, Matthew & Skuterud, Mikal & Worswick, Christopher, 2023. "The economics of Canadian immigration levels," CLEF Working Paper Series 58, Canadian Labour Economics Forum (CLEF), University of Waterloo.
    19. Yigit Aydede & Atul Dar, 2016. "The cost of immigrants’ occupational mismatch and the effectiveness of postarrival policies in Canada," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-23, December.
    20. Nicholas Lawson, 2024. "Discrimination and the Fiscal Benefits of Immigration," Working Papers 24-01, Research Group on Human Capital, University of Quebec in Montreal's School of Management.
    21. Alícia Adserà & Ana Ferrer, 2021. "Linguistic Proximity and the Labour Market Performance of Immigrant Men in Canada," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 35(1), pages 1-23, March.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing

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