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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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3972.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3972.

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Date of creation: Jan 1992
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 11, no. 1, part 1 (1993): 113-135.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3972
Note: LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. 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.
  2. Chiswick, Barry R, 1977. "Sons of Immigrants: Are They at an Earnings Disadvantage?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 376-80, February.
  3. 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 463-89, October.
  4. Becker, Gary S & Barro, Robert J, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25, February.
  5. 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 144-51, February.
  6. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Goldberger, A.S., 1989. "Economic And Mechanical Models Of Intergenerational Transmission," Working papers 374, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  11. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281.
  12. Conlisk, John, 1974. "Can Equalization of Opportunity Reduce Social Mobility?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(1), pages 80-90, March.
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