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The Substitutability of Labor of Selected Ethnic Groups in the US Labor Market

Martin Kahanec

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Central European University; Central European Labour Studies Institute

January 2006

IZA Discussion Paper No. 1945

This paper investigates the substitutability of labor of selected ethnic groups in the US labor market. In the generalized Leontief framework, the analysis of US census-based data reveals that labor of non-White ethnic groups is complementary to that of White ethnic groups. This finding supports the view that the negative relationship between the relative earnings of an ethnic group and its relative size is a labor market phenomenon. Moreover, it implies that ethnic diversity of labor force has positive effects on aggregate output. While the estimated elasticities of complementarity are relatively small, they are shown to generate significant effects, given the very uneven distribution of ethnic groups across local labor markets, as resulting from long-run migration patterns.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 29

Keywords: substitutability, elasticity of substitution, ethnic group, labor market

JEL Classification: J15, J24

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Date posted: January 30, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Kahanec, Martin, The Substitutability of Labor of Selected Ethnic Groups in the US Labor Market (January 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1945. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=879758

Contact Information

Martin Kahanec (Contact Author)
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Central European University ( email )
Nador utca 9
Budapest, H-1051
Central European Labour Studies Institute ( email )
Zvolenská 29
Bratislava, 82109
HOME PAGE: http://www.celsi.sk
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