Gender, Comparative Advantage and Labor Market Activity in Immigrant Families

33 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2001

See all articles by Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

School of Economics, University of Sydney; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Thomas F. Crossley

McMaster University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: May 2001

Abstract

The family investment hypothesis predicts that credit-constrained immigrant families adopt a household strategy for financing post-migration human capital investment in which the partner with labor market comparative advantage engages in investment activities and the other partner undertakes labor market activities which finance current consumption. We assess this hypothesis by focusing on two issues: first, the extent to which the specialization in the investing versus financing role is based on comparative advantage versus gender, and second, the extent to which credit constraints offer a potential explanation for observed behavior. Using a unique new Australian data set we find that comparative advantage and gender can be separately identified in migrating families. We find some support for the family investment hypothesis among traditional families (where labor market comparative advantage resides with the male partner) but not among nontraditional families.

Keywords: Family Investment Hypothesis, Immigrant Families, Comparative Advantage

JEL Classification: J61, J22, D10

Suggested Citation

Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. and Crossley, Thomas F., Gender, Comparative Advantage and Labor Market Activity in Immigrant Families (May 2001). IZA Discussion Paper No. 293. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=267230

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark (Contact Author)

School of Economics, University of Sydney ( email )

606 Social Sciences Bldg. (A02)
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
61435061387 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Thomas F. Crossley

McMaster University - Department of Economics ( email )

426 Kenneth Taylor Hall
1280 Main St.
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M4
Canada
905-525-9140 (Phone)
905-521-8232 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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