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Economic Assimilation of Foreign-Born Workers in the United States: An Overlapping Rotating Panel Analysis

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  • Seik Kim

Abstract

This paper presents new evidence on whether foreign-born workers assimilate, which we define as the degree to which the wages of foreign-born workers approach those of comparable native-born workers with additional time spent in the United States. The key econometric challenge is to separate wage growth due to assimilation from composition effects. The composition of immigrant population varies over time due to variation in initial skill levels at year of entry and also because of selective return migration. While much of the existing literature relies on cross-section data, we use longitudinal data on native-born and foreign-born populations which allows us to control for initial skill composition. An advantage of using the Current Population Survey (CPS) is that one can construct cross-section samples by ignoring its longitudinal structure. We compare cross-section and panel models of foreign-native gap in wage growth, and the results suggest that analyses based on repeated cross-section studies are biased upward by fixed unobserved heterogeneity. Controlling for this heterogeneity reverses the conventional result of economic assimilation. Overall, we find little evidence of a narrowing of the foreign-native gap in economic performance. New immigrants from Central and South America earn lower wages than natives, and this gap widens with time in the U.S. labor market. The wages of new immigrants from Europe and Asia exceed those of natives and there is no strong evidence of convergence. We account for sample attrition in the presence of nonrandom outmigration and find that our results are robust to panel attrition.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:udb:wpaper:uwec-2008-19
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    File URL: http://faculty.washington.edu/seikkim/seikkim_immorpm.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Dustmann, 2014. "Selective Outmigration and the Estimation of Immigrants Earnings Profiles," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1402, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Neagu, Ileana Cristina, 2009. "Career placement of skilled migrants in the U.S. labor market : a dynamic approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4891, The World Bank.
    3. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2014. "A Nation of Immigrants: Assimilation and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(3), pages 467-506.
    4. Neeraj Kaushal & Yao Lu & Nicole Denier & Julia Shu-Huah Wang & Stephen J. Trejo, 2016. "Immigrant employment and earnings growth in Canada and the USA: evidence from longitudinal data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(4), pages 1249-1277, October.
    5. Mattoo, Aaditya & Neagu, Ileana Cristina & Özden, Çağlar, 2012. "Performance of skilled migrants in the U.S.: A dynamic approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 829-843.
    6. 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.
    7. Seik Kim & Nalina Varanasi, "undated". "Labor Supply of Married Women in Credit-Constrained Households: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers UWEC-2010-01, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    8. Seik Kim, "undated". "Sample Attrition in the Presence of Population Attrition," Working Papers UWEC-2009-02, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    9. de Walque, Damien, 2008. "Race, immigration, and the U.S. labor marke t: contrasting the outcomes of foreign born and native blacks," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4737, The World Bank.

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