The Portability of New Immigrants' Human Capital: Language, Education and Occupational Matching

32 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2011

See all articles by Gustave Goldmann

Gustave Goldmann

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Arthur Sweetman

McMaster University - Department of Economics; McMaster University - Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Casey Warman

Dalhousie University

Abstract

The implications of human capital portability – including interactions between education, language skills and pre- and post-immigration occupational matching – for earnings are explored for new immigrants to Canada. Given the importance of occupation-specific skills, as a precursor we also investigate occupational mobility and observe convergence toward the occupational skill distribution of the domestic population, although four years after landing immigrants remain less likely have a high skilled job. Immigrants who are able to match their source and host country occupations obtain higher earnings. However, surprisingly, neither matching nor language skills have any impact on the return to pre-immigration work experience, which is observed to be statistically significantly negative. Crucially, English language skills are found to have an appreciable direct impact on earnings, and to mediate the return to pre-immigration education but not labour market experience.

Keywords: immigration, human capital portability, occupation, language, education

JEL Classification: J24, J61, J62

Suggested Citation

Goldmann, Gustave and Sweetman, Arthur and Warman, Casey, The Portability of New Immigrants' Human Capital: Language, Education and Occupational Matching. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5851. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1893931

Gustave Goldmann (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Arthur Sweetman

McMaster University - Department of Economics ( email )

1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M4
Canada

McMaster University - Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA) ( email )

1280 Main St. W
Hamilton, ON L8S 4M4
Canada

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Casey Warman

Dalhousie University ( email )

Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3J5
Canada

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