IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wpa/wuwpmh/0203002.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Poles and Italians then, Mexicans Now? Immigrant-to-Native Wage Ratios, 1910 and 1940

Author

Listed:
  • Joel Perlmann

    (The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College)

Abstract

A good deal of recent discussion among social scientists concerned with immigration is about the disadvantages faced by immigrants who enter the U. S. labor force with much-lower levels of skills than those possessed by the typical native white worker. Among contemporary immigrant groups, by far the most important example is the Mexicans. The challenges faced by such an immigrant today are often contrasted with the challenges faced by low-skilled immigrants who entered the U. S. during the great immigration wave of 1890-1920-most notably Poles, other Slavs, and Italians. In articles published at the end of 2001 in the New York Review of Books, Christopher Jencks drew on research by George Borjas to argue that the wage ratios of Mexicans compared to relevant U.S. workers today were far worse than the comparable wage ratios of "new" immigrants compared to native white workers in 1910. Jencks argues for a reconsideration of immigration policy, especially regarding Mexico. This paper explores the nature of the early evidence in detail. A good deal of ambiguity is involved in the materials, but tests made to date do not contradict Jencks's conclusions about wage ratios during the earlier immigration. The paper draws evidence from IPUMS census datasets from 1900, 1910, 1940, and 1950.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel Perlmann, 2002. "Poles and Italians then, Mexicans Now? Immigrant-to-Native Wage Ratios, 1910 and 1940," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0203002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmh:0203002
    Note: Type of Document - PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP;
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/mhet/papers/0203/0203002.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard Alba & Amy Lutz & Elena Vesselinov, 2001. "How enduring were the inequalities among European immigrant groups in the United States?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(3), pages 349-356, August.
    2. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Long-Run Convergence of Ethnic Skill Differentials: The Children and Grandchildren of the Great Migration," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 553-573, July.
    3. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Long-Run Convergence of Ethnic Skill Differentials," NBER Working Papers 4641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. James P. Smith, 2006. "Immigrants and the Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 203-234, April.
    2. MacKinnon, Mary & Parent, Daniel, 2012. "Resisting the melting pot: The long term impact of maintaining identity for Franco-Americans in New England," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 30-59.
    3. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Network Effects and Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1019-1055.
    4. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Boustan, 2017. "Immigration in American Economic History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1311-1345, December.
    5. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Wen-Hao Chen & Miles Corak, 2009. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility among the Children of Canadian Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 377-397, May.
    6. repec:pit:wpaper:289 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Roger Waldinger & Joel Perlmann, 1997. "Second Generations: Past, Present, Future," Macroeconomics 9712009, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Catron, Peter, 2018. "The Melting-Pot Problem? The Persistence and Convergence of Premigration Socioeconomic Status During the Age of Mass Migration," SocArXiv gcx3a, Center for Open Science.
    9. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2005. "Intergenerational economic mobility in the U.S., 1940 to 2000," Working Paper Series WP-05-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    10. Kahanec, Martin, 2006. "The Substitutability of Labor of Selected Ethnic Groups in the US Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 1945, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Chen, Wen-Hao & Aydemir, Abdurrahman & Corak, Miles, 2005. "Mobilite intergenerationnelle des gains chez les enfants des immigrants au Canada," Direction des études analytiques : documents de recherche 2005267f, Statistics Canada, Direction des études analytiques.
    12. Gordon, Robert J, 2000. "Interpreting the 'One Big Wave' in US Long-Term Productivity Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 2608, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Interpreting the "One Big Wave" in U.S. Long-Term Productivity Growth," NBER Working Papers 7752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Kahanec, Martin, 2005. "Two Faces of the ICT Revolution: Desegregation and Minority-Majority Earnings Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1872, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Casey Warman & Matthew D. Webb & Christopher Worswick, 2019. "Immigrant category of admission and the earnings of adults and children: how far does the apple fall?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(1), pages 53-112, January.
    16. Collado, M. Dolores & Ortuño Ortin, Ignacio & Romeu, Andrés, 2008. "Vertical Transmission of Consumption Behavior and the Distribution of Surnames," UMUFAE Economics Working Papers 2651, DIGITUM. Universidad de Murcia.
    17. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Viola von Berlepsch, 2012. "When migrants rule: the legacy of mass migration on economic development in the US," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1216, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Aug 2012.
    18. Derek Hum & Wayne Simpson, 2007. "The legacy of immigration: labour market performance and education in the second generation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(15), pages 1985-2009.
    19. Gabriel Montes-Rojas & Lucas Siga & Ram Mainali, 2017. "Mean and quantile regression Oaxaca-Blinder decompositions with an application to caste discrimination," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 15(3), pages 245-255, September.
    20. Jens Ruhose, 2013. "Bildungsleistungen von Migranten und deren Determinanten – Teil II: Primar-, Sekundar- und Tertiärbereich," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 66(10), pages 24-38, May.
    21. Finnie, Ross & Meng, Ronald, 2006. "The Importance of Functional Literacy: Reading and Math Skills and Labour Market Outcomes of High School Drop-outs," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006275e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; labor force; wage ratios;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:wpa:wuwpmh:0203002. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: EconWPA (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de .

    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.