IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/6630.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Immigrant and Native-born Wage Distributions: Evidence from United States Censuses

Author

Listed:
  • Kristin F. Butcher
  • John DiNardo

Abstract

Over the past thirty years, immigration has increased, immigrant characteristics have changed, and the relative mean wages of immigrants vis … vis the native born have declined. Using data from four U.S. Censuses (1960 - 1990) we examine changes in the wage structure and their role in explaining comparisons between immigrants and the native-born in mean wages. Inter alia, we document that patterns of comparison between the immigrants and the native-born are not the same for men and for women, and that these differences in immigrant/native-born comparisons among men and women are a consequence of different evolutions in the wage structure. Although virtually ignored in the immigration literature, we return to a well-understood aspect of Blinder/Oaxaca differentials: the extent of measured discrimination depends on the base' prices used for comparison. Contrary to previous work which finds little impact of the wage structure on immigrant/native-born wage differentials, we observe that if the wage structure' had remained as it was in 1970, for example, the decline in immigrant wages relative to the native-born would generally be much smaller than has been observed.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristin F. Butcher & John DiNardo, 1998. "The Immigrant and Native-born Wage Distributions: Evidence from United States Censuses," NBER Working Papers 6630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6630
    Note: LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6630.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Borjas, George J. & Freeman, Richard B. (ed.), 1992. "Immigration and the Work Force," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226066332.
    2. Card, David & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Wage dispersion, returns to skill, and black-white wage differentials," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 319-361, October.
    3. Yuengert, A M, 1994. "Immigrant Earnings, Relative to What? The Importance of Earnings Function Specification and Comparison Points," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(1), pages 71-90, Jan.-Marc.
    4. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "On the Labor Market Effects of Immigration and Trade," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration and the Work Force: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 213-244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 1996. "Changes in Relative Wages in the 1980s: Returns to Observed and Unobserved Skills and Black-White Wage Differentials," Working Papers 751, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Borjas, George J, 1995. "Assimilation and Changes in Cohort Quality Revisited: What Happened to Immigrant Earnings in the 1980s?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 201-245, April.
    7. John E. DiNardo & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "The Returns to Computer Use Revisited: Have Pencils Changed the Wage Structure Too?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 291-303.
    8. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman, 1992. "Immigration and the Work Force: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number borj92-1, January-J.
    9. Guillermina Jasso & Mark R. Rosenzweig & James P. Smith, 2000. "The Changing Skill of New Immigrants to the United States: Recent Trends and Their Determinants," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 185-226, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    11. Edward Funkhouser & Stephen J. Trejo, 1995. "The Labor Market Skills of Recent Male Immigrants: Evidence from the Current Population Survey," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(4), pages 792-811, July.
    12. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1997. "The Role of the Family in Immigrants' Labor-Market Activity: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 705-727, September.
    13. Charles M. Beach & Christopher Worswick, 1993. "Is There a Double-Negative Effect on the Earnings of Immigrant Women?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 19(1), pages 36-53, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2011. "Economic Impacts of Immigration: A Survey," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 1-32, Spring.
    2. Darren Lubotsky, 2007. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 820-867, October.
    3. Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht, 2011. "Migration and Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 327-439, Elsevier.
    4. Edward J. Schumacher, 2011. "Foreign‐born nurses in the US labor market," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(3), pages 362-378, March.
    5. George J. Borjas, 2000. "The Economic Progress of Immigrants," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 15-50, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. George J. Borjas & Rachel M. Friedberg, 2009. "Recent Trends in the Earnings of New Immigrants to the United States," NBER Working Papers 15406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. George J. Borjas, 2021. "The Slowdown in the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants: Aging and Cohort Effects Revisited Again," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Foundational Essays in Immigration Economics, chapter 3, pages 31-65, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Seik Kim, "undated". "Economic Assimilation of Foreign-Born Workers in the United States: An Overlapping Rotating Panel Analysis," Working Papers UWEC-2008-19, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    9. Blau, Francine D. & Kahn, Lawrence M. & Papps, Kerry L., 2008. "Gender, Source Country Characteristics and Labor Market Assimilation among Immigrants: 1980-2000," IZA Discussion Papers 3725, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Pokrovsky, D. & Shapoval, A., 2015. "Distribution of Entrepreneurial Skills and Migration: Employment Structure, Income Inequality, and Welfare," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 36-62.
    11. George J. Borjas, 1995. "The internationalization of the U.S. labor market and the wage structure," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jan, pages 3-8.
    12. Francine Blau, 2015. "Immigrants and gender roles: assimilation vs. culture," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, December.
    13. Kugler, Adriana & Yuksel, Mutlu, 2008. "Do Recent Latino Immigrants Compete for Jobs with Native Hispanics and Earlier Latino Immigrants?," MPRA Paper 69703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Green, David A. & Worswick, Christopher, 2012. "Immigrant earnings profiles in the presence of human capital investment: Measuring cohort and macro effects," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 241-259.
    15. Brian Duncan & Stephen J. Trejo, 2015. "Assessing the Socioeconomic Mobility and Integration of U.S. Immigrants and Their Descendants," The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, , vol. 657(1), pages 108-135, January.
    16. Rashid, Saman, 2004. "Immigrants' Income and Family Migration," Umeå Economic Studies 625, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    17. Reimers, Cordelia W., 1997. "The progress of Mexican and white non-Hispanic immigrants in California and Texas, 1980 to 1990," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(Supplemen), pages 315-343.
    18. Kar, Saibal, 2009. "International labor migration, asymmetric information and occupational choice," MPRA Paper 24106, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Dequiedt, Vianney & Zenou, Yves, 2013. "International migration, imperfect information, and brain drain," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 62-78.
    20. Seik Kim, 2013. "Wage Mobility of Foreign-Born Workers in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(3), pages 628-658.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6630. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.