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Why is the Payoff to Schooling Smaller for Immigrants?

  • Paul W. Miller

    ()

    (Department of Economics, The University of Western Australia)

  • Barry R. Chiswick

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

This paper is concerned with why immigrants appear to have consistently lower partial effects of schooling on earnings than the native born, both across destinations and in different time periods within countries. It uses the Over-Required-Under education approach to occupations, a new decomposition technique developed especially for this approach, and data from the 2000 Census of the United States. Based on the average (mode or mean) level of schooling in their occupation, the schooling of the native and foreign born adult men is divided into the “required” (average) level, and years of under- or over-education. Immigrants have a wider variance in schooling, with an especially large proportion undereducated given the average schooling level in their occupation. Immigrants are shown to receive approximately the same rate of return to the “required” (occupational norm) level of education, but experience a smaller negative effect of years of undereducation, and to a lesser extent a small positive effect of overeducation. About two-thirds of the smaller effect of schooling on earnings for immigrants is due to their different payoffs to undereducation and overeducation. The remainder is largely due to their different distribution of years of schooling. The country-of-origin differences in the returns to under- and over-education are consistent with country differences in the international transferability of skills to the US and the favorable selectivity of economic migrants, especially those from countries other than the English-speaking developed countries. The decomposition developed is used to quantify the contribution of favorable selection in immigration and the less-than-perfect international transferability of skills. The results suggest that favorable selection is the more important contributor to the smaller payoff to schooling for immigrants.

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File URL: http://ecompapers.biz.uwa.edu.au/paper/PDF%20of%20Discussion%20Papers/1993/93-04%20Tcha%2C%20M.pdf
File Function: First version, 2005
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Paper provided by The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion / Working Papers with number 06-03.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwa:wpaper:06-03
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Web page: http://www.business.uwa.edu.au/school/disciplines/economics

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  1. Kiker, B. F. & Santos, Maria C. & de Oliveira, M. Mendes, 1997. "Overeducation and undereducation: Evidence for Portugal," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 111-125, April.
  2. Richard Fry & B. Lindsay Lowell, 2003. "The Value of Bilingualism in the U.S. Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(1), pages 128-140, October.
  3. Hartog, Joop, 2000. "Over-education and earnings: where are we, where should we go?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 131-147, April.
  4. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2007. "The International Transferability of Immigrants’ Human Capital Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 2670, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Rachel M. Friedberg, 1996. "You Can't Take It With You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 5837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Barry Chiswick, 2003. "Jacob Mincer, Experience and the Distribution of Earnings," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 343-361, December.
  8. Dustmann, C, 1993. "Earnings Adjustment of Temporary Migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 153-68, May.
  9. Cohn, Elchanan & Khan, Shahina P., 1995. "The wage effects of overschooling revisited," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 67-76, March.
  10. Richard R. Verdugo & Naomi Turner Verdugo, 1989. "The Impact of Surplus Schooling on Earnings: Some Additional Findings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(4), pages 629-643.
  11. Richard Fry & B. Lindsay Lowell, 2003. "The value of bilingualism in the U.S. labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(1), pages 128-141, October.
  12. Beggs, John J & Chapman, Bruce J, 1988. "Immigrant Wage Adjustment in Australia: Cross Section and Time-Series Estimates," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 64(186), pages 161-67, September.
  13. 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.
  14. Chiswick, Barry R, 1980. "The Earnings of White and Coloured Male Immigrants in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(185), pages 81-87, February.
  15. Guillermina Jasso & Mark Rosensweig & James P. Smith, 2003. "The Earnings of US immigrants," Labor and Demography 0312007, EconWPA.
  16. Rumberger, Russell W., 1981. "The rising incidence of overeducation in the U.S. Labor market," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 293-314, June.
  17. Barry Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 181-185, May.
  18. Duncan, Greg J. & Hoffman, Saul D., 1981. "The incidence and wage effects of overeducation," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 75-86, February.
  19. 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 540-53, June.
  20. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1994. "The Performance of Immigrants in the Canadian Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 369-405, July.
  21. Kalena E. Cortes, 2004. "Are Refugees Different from Economic Immigrants? Some Empirical Evidence on the Heterogeneity of Immigrant Groups in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 465-480, May.
  22. Michael Shields & Stephen Wheatley Price, 1998. "The earnings of male immigrants in England: evidence from the quarterly LFS," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(9), pages 1157-1168.
  23. Cortes, Kalena E., 2004. "Are Refugees Different from Economic Immigrants? Some Empirical Evidence on the Heterogeneity of Immigrant Groups in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 1063, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Daly, Mary C. & Buchel, Felix & Duncan, Greg J., 2000. "Premiums and penalties for surplus and deficit education: Evidence from the United States and Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-178, April.
  25. Séamus McGuinness, 2006. "Overeducation in the Labour Market," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 387-418, 07.
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