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Why Are Some Immigrant Groups More Successful than Others?

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  • Edward P. Lazear

Abstract

Success of immigrants in the US measured by earnings or education varies dramatically by country of origin. For example, average educational attainment among immigrants ranges from 9 to 16 years, depending on origin country. Perhaps surprisingly, immigrants from Algeria have higher educational attainment than those from Israel or Japan. Also true is that there is a strong inverse relation of attainment to number of immigrants from that country. There is excess supply of potential immigrants to desirable destination country like the US and the rationing rule results in selection from the top of a source country’s ability distribution. As a consequence, average immigrant attainment is inversely related to the number admitted from an origin country and positively related to the population of that country. The results are supported by results from the American Community Survey. The model’s three variables explain 73% of the variation in educational attainment of immigrant groups. Additionally, a structural model that is more explicit in the assumptions and predictions also fits the data well.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward P. Lazear, 2017. "Why Are Some Immigrant Groups More Successful than Others?," NBER Working Papers 23548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23548
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jennifer Hunt, 2011. "Which Immigrants Are Most Innovative and Entrepreneurial? Distinctions by Entry Visa," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 417-457.
    2. Bergstrand, Jeffrey H, 1985. "The Gravity Equation in International Trade: Some Microeconomic Foundations and Empirical Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 474-481, August.
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    4. Abdeslam Marfouk, 2007. "Brain Drain in Developing Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 193-218, June.
    5. Lazear, Edward P, 1977. "Education: Consumption or Production?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 569-597, June.
    6. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
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    8. David Karemera & Victor Iwuagwu Oguledo & Bobby Davis, 2000. "A gravity model analysis of international migration to North America," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(13), pages 1745-1755.
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    11. Barry R. Chiswick & Paul W. Miller, 2012. "Negative and Positive Assimilation, Skill Transferability, and Linguistic Distance," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 35-55.
    12. Giovanni Peri & Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber, 2016. "STEM Workers, H-1B Visas, and Productivity in US Cities," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 9, pages 277-307 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Why Are Some Immigrant Groups More Successful than Others?
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2017-08-11 17:43:27

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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