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The Assimilation of Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Markets


Robert LaLonde


University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Robert H. Topel


University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

December 1990

NBER Working Paper No. w3573

Abstract:     
This paper reassesses the evidence on the assimilation and the changing labor market skills of immigrants to the United States. We find strong evidence of labor market assimilation for most immigrant groups. For Asian and Mexican immigrants the first ten years experience in the united States raise earnings by more than 20 percent. Further, this estimate may understate the actual rate of assimilation because of the sharp decline in the relative wages of unskilled U.S. workers. We also find little evidence of declining immigrant "quality" within ethnic groups. The diminished labor market skills of new immigrants result entirely from changes in the immigrants' countries of origin.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 38

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Date posted: November 14, 2007  

Suggested Citation

LaLonde, Robert and Topel, Robert H., The Assimilation of Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Markets (December 1990). NBER Working Paper No. w3573. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=471540

Contact Information

Robert J. LaLonde (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies ( email )
1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Robert H. Topel
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-7524 (Phone)
773-702-2699 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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