Immigrant Earnings Assimilation: The Role of the Workplace

Deborah T. Rho, Duke University

While a great deal of work has been done to investigate the earnings differences of U.S. immigrants and the native-born, less has been established on the process by which assimilation occurs. We investigate the process of immigrant earnings assimilation of on-the-books immigrants who arrived in the late 1990s by exploiting a unique employer-employee linked dataset. We seek to examine the role of firm characteristics such as industry, location, establishment size, whether the firm is made up of multiple establishments, and the immigrant concentration of coworkers in the labor market experience of these immigrants. We find a great deal of heterogeneity in the relative earnings of immigrants in our sample. Preliminary evidence suggests that examining the differences in firm characteristics between immigrants and natives would provide a clearer understanding of the labor market experience of the foreign-born population.

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Presented in Session 25: Immigrant Assimilation