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IMMIGRANT WAGE GROWTH IN THE UNITED STATES: THE ROLE OF OCCUPATIONAL UPGRADING

Rebecca Lessem and Carl Sanders

International Economic Review, 2020, vol. 61, issue 2, 941-972

Abstract: Immigrants to the United States routinely take jobs below their skill qualifications because of barriers to entering occupations. We use a structural model of immigrant job choice to quantify the benefits of potential policies to promote entry into suitable occupations. We estimate the model using longitudinal labor market data on immigrants to the United States. Our counterfactual results show that eliminating barriers to occupational entry would lead to only a small earnings increase for the average immigrant in our sample, but a substantial earnings increase for the most highly skilled immigrants.

Date: 2020
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International Economic Review is currently edited by Michael O'Riordan and Dirk Krueger

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