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The Occupations and Human Capital of U.S. Immigrants

  • Schoellman, Todd

This paper estimates the multi-dimensional human capital endowments of immigrants by characterizing their occupational decisions. This approach allows for estimation of physical skill and cognitive ability endowments, which are difficult to measure directly. Estimation implies that immigrants as a whole are abundant in cognitive ability and scarce in experience/training and communication skills. Counterfactual estimates of the wage impacts of immigration are skewed: the largest gain from preventing immigration is 3.2% higher wages, but the largest loss is 0.3% lower wages. Crowding of immigrants into select occupations plays a minor role in explaining these impacts; occupations’ skill attributes explain the bulk.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/14236/1/MPRA_paper_14236.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 14236.

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Date of creation: 23 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:14236
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  1. David Autor & Frank Levy & Richard Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  2. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
  3. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2007. "The Effects of Immigration on U.S. Wages and Rents: A General Equilibrium Approach," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0713, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  4. Costinot, Arnaud & Oldenski, Lindsay & Rauch, James, 2009. "Adaptation and the Boundary of Multinational Firms," CCES Discussion Paper Series 14, Center for Research on Contemporary Economic Systems, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  5. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2008. "Highly-Educated Immigrants and Native Occupational Choice," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0813, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  6. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve Is Downward Sloping: Reexamining The Impact Of Immigration On The Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374, November.
  7. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
  8. Edward P. Lazear, 2003. "Firm-Specific Human Capital: A Skill-Weights Approach," NBER Working Papers 9679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
  10. Lutz Hendricks, 2002. "How Important Is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 198-219, March.
  11. Ingram, Beth F. & Neumann, George R., 2006. "The returns to skill," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 35-59, February.
  12. Dougherty, C R S, 1972. "Estimates of Labor Aggregation Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1101-19, Nov.-Dec..
  13. Christina Gathmann & Uta Schönberg, 2010. "How General Is Human Capital? A Task-Based Approach," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-49, 01.
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