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The Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants


  • George J. Borjas


This paper analyzes the intergenerational mobility of immigrants. Using the 1940-1970 Censuses, the study reveals an important link between the earnings of immigrants and the earnings of their American-born children. Although there is some regression towards the mean, the earnings of second-generation Americans are strongly affected by variables describing economic conditions in the source countries of their parents. Current immigration policy, therefore, determines not only how immigrants perform in the labor market, but also determines tomorrow's differences in the labor market experiences of American-born ethnic groups.

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  • George J. Borjas, 1992. "The Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 3972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3972
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Goldberger, Arthur S, 1989. "Economic and Mechanical Models of Intergenerational Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 504-513, June.
    3. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Behrman, Jere & Tarbman, Paul, 1985. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in the United States: Some Estimates and a Test of Becker's Intergenerational Endowments Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 144-151, February.
    5. 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 463-489, October.
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    7. Conlisk, John, 1974. "Can Equalization of Opportunity Reduce Social Mobility?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(1), pages 80-90, March.
    8. Carliner, Geoffrey, 1980. "Wages, Earnings and Hours of First, Second, and Third Generation American Males," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(1), pages 87-102, January.
    9. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    10. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25.
    11. Chiswick, Barry R, 1977. "Sons of Immigrants: Are They at an Earnings Disadvantage?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 376-380, February.
    12. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281-281.
    13. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
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