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The Earnings Disadvantage of 21st Century Immigrants in the United States

Fahad Gill and Waseem Ahmad

The American Economist, 2019, vol. 64, issue 1, 31-44

Abstract: This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the earnings disadvantage of 21st century immigrants in the United States. The study is the first to decompose the earnings disadvantage faced by recent immigrants to present the channels through which immigrants lag behind their native counterparts. The decomposition of the earnings disadvantage reveals that the time spent in the United States is the key determinant of the earnings disadvantage. Other important sources of the earnings disadvantage of immigrants are the levels of English-language proficiency and educational attainment. The decomposition analysis also suggests that low levels of human capital cause an even larger disadvantage for immigrants in the years following the 2008-2009 recession as compared with the corresponding relative returns of the prerecession period. The decomposition analysis and trends in returns to human capital variables highlight the merits of a selective immigration system that favors young, English-speaking, and highly educated individuals. JEL Classifications : J1, J3, J6

Keywords: relative earnings; the Great Recession; earnings decomposition; American Community Survey; 21st century immigrants (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1177/0569434518793367

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