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Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Occupational Mobility: A Test of the Immigrant Assimilation Hypothesis


  • Barry R. Chiswick

    (Department of Economics, The University of Illinois at Chicago)

  • Yew Liang Lee

    (Department of Economics, The University of Western Australia)

  • Paul W. Miller

    (Department of Economics, The University of Western Australia)


Using an immigrant assimilation framework, this paper develops a model of the occupational mobility of immigrants and tests the hypotheses using data on adult males from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia. The theoretical model generates hypotheses regarding a U-shaped pattern of occupational mobility from the "last job" in the origin, to the "first job" in the destination, to subsequent jobs in the destination, and regarding the depth of the "U". The survey includes data on pre-immigration occupation, the "first" occupation in Australia (at 6 months) and the occupation after about 3.5 years in Australia. The hypotheses are supported by the empirical analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry R. Chiswick & Yew Liang Lee & Paul W. Miller, 2002. "Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Occupational Mobility: A Test of the Immigrant Assimilation Hypothesis," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 02-08, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:02-08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Borjas, George J, 1985. "Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(4), pages 463-489, October.
    3. Miller, Paul W & Volker, Paul A, 1985. "Economic Progress in Australia: An Analysis of Occupational Mobility," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 61(172), pages 463-475, March.
    4. Randall S. Brown & Marilyn Moon & Barbara S. Zoloth, 1980. "Occupational Attainment and Segregation by Sex," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(4), pages 506-517, July.
    5. Chiswick, Barry R, 1986. "Is the New Immigration Less Skilled Than the Old?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(2), pages 168-192, April.
    6. Borjas, George J, 1989. "Immigrant and Emigrant Earnings: A Longitudinal Study," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(1), pages 21-37, January.
    7. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1985. "Immigrant Generation and Income in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 61(173), pages 540-553, June.
    8. Schmidt, Peter & Strauss, Robert P, 1975. "The Prediction of Occupation Using Multiple Logit Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(2), pages 471-486, June.
    9. Stephen Nickell, 1982. "The Determinants of Occupational Success in Britain," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(1), pages 43-53.
    10. Harriet Duleep & Mark Regets, 1997. "Measuring immigrant wage growth using matched CPS files," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(2), pages 239-249, May.
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    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion


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