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Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants in the US over Two Centuries

Author

Listed:
  • Ran Abramitzky
  • Leah Platt Boustan
  • Elisa Jácome
  • Santiago Pérez

Abstract

Using millions of father-son pairs spanning more than 100 years of US history, we find that children of immigrants from nearly every sending country have higher rates of upward mobility than children of the US-born. Immigrants’ advantage is similar historically and today despite dramatic shifts in sending countries and US immigration policy. In the past, this advantage can be explained by immigrants moving to areas with better prospects for their children and by “under-placement” of the first generation in the income distribution. These findings are consistent with the “American Dream” view that even poorer immigrants can improve their children’s prospects.

Suggested Citation

  • Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Elisa Jácome & Santiago Pérez, 2019. "Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants in the US over Two Centuries," NBER Working Papers 26408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26408
    Note: CH DAE LS PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michel Beine & Ana Cecilia Montes Vinas & Skerdikajda Zanaj, 2020. "The solution of the immigrant paradox: aspirations and expectations of children of migrants," DEM Discussion Paper Series 20-26, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.
    2. Hennig, Jan-Luca, 2021. "Labor Market Polarization and Intergenerational Mobility: Theory and Evidence," VfS Annual Conference 2021 (Virtual Conference): Climate Economics 242353, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Escamilla-Guerrero, David & Kosack, Edward & Ward, Zachary, 2021. "Life after crossing the border: Assimilation during the first Mexican mass migration," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    4. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Dylan Connor, 2020. "Leaving the Enclave: Historical Evidence on Immigrant Mobility from the Industrial Removal Office," Working Papers 2020-35, Princeton University. Economics Department..
    5. Dylan Shane Connor & Michael Storper, 2020. "The changing geography of social mobility in the United States," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 117(48), pages 30309-30317, December.
    6. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Dylan Connor, 2020. "Leaving the Enclave: Historical Evidence on Immigrant Mobility from the Industrial Removal Office," NBER Working Papers 27372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Nathan Deutscher, 2020. "What Drives Second Generation Success? The Roles Of Education, Culture, And Context," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 58(4), pages 1707-1730, October.
    8. Collins, William J. & Zimran, Ariell, 2019. "The economic assimilation of Irish Famine migrants to the United States," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    9. Eriksson, Katherine & Ward, Zachary, 2022. "Immigrants and cities during the age of mass migration," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).
    10. Blanco,Christian & Meneses,Francisco Jalles & Villamizar-Chaparro,Mateo, 2022. "Why Student Aid Matters ? Roadblocks to the Transition into Higher Education forForced Migrants in Chile," Policy Research Working Paper Series 10104, The World Bank.

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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
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative

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