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The Earnings of Skilled and Unskilled Immigrants at the End of the Nineteenth Century

Barry Eichengreen and Henry A. Gemery
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 46, No. 2, The Tasks of Economic History (Jun., 1986), pp. 441-454
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2122175
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Earnings of Skilled and Unskilled Immigrants at the End of the Nineteenth Century
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Abstract

Most historical studies of immigration in nineteenth-century America have failed to distinguish among the labor-market experiences of different immigrant groups. Using a sample of some 4000 wage earners from turn-of-the-century Iowa, we examine the relative earnings of skilled and unskilled immigrants and suggest the factors which contributed to their very different post-immigration experiences. The results indicate that prior knowledge of a trade conferred upon immigrants an initial earnings advantage, but that unskilled immigrants managed subsequently to close some but not all of the gap by reaping greater returns to experience on the job.

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