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Immigrants’ Earnings Growth and Return Migration from the U.S.: Examining their Determinants using Linked Survey and Administrative Data

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  • Randall Akee
  • Maggie R. Jones

Abstract

Using a novel panel data set of recent immigrants to the U.S. (2005–2007) from individual-level linked U.S. Census Bureau survey data and Internal Revenue Service administrative records, we identify the determinants of return migration and earnings assimilation. We show that by 10 years after arrival almost 40 percent have return migrated. We show, for the first time, that return migrants experience downward earnings mobility over two to three years prior to their return migration. This finding suggests that economic shocks are closely related to emigration decisions. As a result, standard calculations of immigrants earnings growth may be understated.

Suggested Citation

  • Randall Akee & Maggie R. Jones, 2019. "Immigrants’ Earnings Growth and Return Migration from the U.S.: Examining their Determinants using Linked Survey and Administrative Data," NBER Working Papers 25639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25639
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    Cited by:

    1. Dostie, Benoit & Li, Jiang & Card, David & Parent, Daniel, 2023. "Employer policies and the immigrant–native earnings gap," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 233(2), pages 544-567.
    2. Amior, Michael, 2020. "The contribution of immigration to local labor market adjustment," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108419, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Toman Barsbai & Andreas Steinmayr & Christoph Winter, 2022. "Immigrating into a Recession: Evidence from Family Migrants to the U.S," Working Papers 2022-01, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, Universität Innsbruck.
    4. Glitz, Albrecht & Albert, Christoph & Llull, Joan, 2021. "Labor Market Competition and the Assimilation of Immigrants," CEPR Discussion Papers 16432, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Michael Brottrager & Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Dominic Kniveton & Saleem H. Ali, 2023. "Natural resources modulate the nexus between environmental shocks and human mobility," Nature Communications, Nature, vol. 14(1), pages 1-8, December.
    6. Leafia Zi Ye & Michal Engelman, 2021. "Mobility, Stagnation, or Attrition? Diverse Earning Trajectories in a Cohort of Foreign‐born Men," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 47(1), pages 113-149, March.
    7. Jacopo Bassetto & Giuseppe Ippedico, 2023. "Can Tax Incentives Bring Brains Back? Returnees Tax Schemes and High-Skilled Migration in Italy," CESifo Working Paper Series 10271, CESifo.
    8. Randall Akee & Maggie R. Jones, 2019. "Foreign vs. U.S. Graduate Degrees: The Impact on Earnings Assimilation and Return Migration for the Foreign Born," Working Papers 19-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. Gabriele Lucchetti & Alessandro Ruggieri, 2023. "Unlucky migrants: Scarring effect of recessions on the assimilation of the foreign born," Discussion Papers 2023-09, University of Nottingham, GEP.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • 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

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