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Why are the Relative Wages of Immigrants Declining? A Distributional Approach

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  • Boudarbat, Brahim
  • Lemieux, Thomas

Abstract

In this paper, we show that the decline in the relative wages of immigrants in Canada is far from homogenous over different points of the wage distribution. The well-documented decline in the immigrant-Canadian born mean wage gap hides a much larger decline at the low end of the wage distribution, while the gap hardly changed at the top end of the distribution. Using standard OLS regressions and new unconditional quantile regressions, we show that both the changes in the mean wage gap and in the gap at different quantiles are well explained by standard factors such as experience, education, and country of origin of immigrants. Interestingly, the most important source of change in the wages of immigrants relative to the Canadian born is the aging of the baby boom generation that has resulted in a relative increase in the labour market experience, and thus, in the wages, of Canadian born workers relative to immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Boudarbat, Brahim & Lemieux, Thomas, 2010. "Why are the Relative Wages of Immigrants Declining? A Distributional Approach," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2010-27, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 23 Sep 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2010-27
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    File URL: http://www.clsrn.econ.ubc.ca/workingpapers/CLSRN%20Working%20Paper%20no.%2065%20-%20Boudarbat%20and%20Lemieux.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Gray & Jeffrey Mills & Sourushe Zandvakili, 2003. "Immigration, Assimilation and Inequality of Income Distribution in Canada," University of Cincinnati, Economics Working Papers Series 2003-01, University of Cincinnati, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mehtap Akguc & Ana Ferrer, 2015. "Educational Attainment and Labor Market Performance: An Analysis of Immigrants in France," Working Papers 1505, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2015.
    2. Anna Rosso, 2016. "Skill Transferability and Immigrant-Native Wage Gaps," Development Working Papers 405, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 21 Oct 2016.
    3. Abbott, Michael G. & Beach, Charles M., 2013. "Earnings Mobility of Canadian Immigrants: A Transition Matrix Approach," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-47, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 27 Oct 2013.
    4. Carl Lin, 2016. "How Do Immigrants From Taiwan Fare In The U.S. Labor Market?," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(05), pages 1-38, December.
    5. John S. Heywood & Daniel Parent, 2012. "Performance Pay and the White-Black Wage Gap," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 249-290.
    6. Fang, Tony & Gunderson, Morley & Lin, Carl, 2016. "The use and impact of job search procedures by migrant workers in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 154-165.
    7. Rienzo, Cinzia, 2008. "Residual Wage Inequality and Immigration in the UK and the US," MPRA Paper 30279, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2011.
    8. Teresa Ghilarducci & Michael Papadopoulos & Siavash Radpour, 2017. "Relative Wages in Aging America: The Baby Boomer Effect," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2017-03, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
    9. Brenzel, Hanna & Laible, Marie-Christine, 2016. "Does personality matter? : the impact of the big five on the migrant and gender wage gaps," IAB Discussion Paper 201626, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    10. Hanna Wielandt, 2015. "Employment Polarization and Immigrant Employment Opportunities," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2015-025, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    11. Cinzia Rienzo, 2014. "Residual Wage Inequality and Immigration in the USA and the UK," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 28(3), pages 288-308, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Canada; Immigration; Wages distribution; Unconditional quantile regression;

    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
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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