IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Determinants of the Wages of Immigrants


  • Mark R. Rosenzweig

    (Yale University)

  • Joseph G. Altonji

    (Yale University)


In this paper, we examine three main questions concerning wages. First, how do wages of native workers depend on the skills of the worker and the characteristics of an economy? Second, what do differences between the characteristics of the US and the home country economies predict about the wage gains of immigrants to the United States from a given country. Third, what types of skills are most transferable between economies and what is the role of English language proficiency in the transferability of skills to the US? Our empirical analysis is motivated by a model of wage determination and occupation choice. We show that under some strong assumptions, one may use the skill requirements of a worker’s occupation as indicators of the skill characteristics of the worker. The empirical analysis takes advantage of the New Immigrant Survey, which provides data on a number of worker characteristics as well as consistent measures of wage rates and occupation before and after immigration for US immigrants from a large number of countries. We use our analysis as the basis for a discussion of the effects of immigration policy on average US wages and on the average wage gain of immigrants attracted to the United States

Suggested Citation

  • Mark R. Rosenzweig & Joseph G. Altonji, 2008. "The Determinants of the Wages of Immigrants," 2008 Meeting Papers 1084, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:1084

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    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:red:sed008:1084. 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: (Christian Zimmermann). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

    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.