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Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants

George J. Borjas
Journal of Labor Economics
Vol. 3, No. 4 (Oct., 1985), pp. 463-489
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2534922
Page Count: 27
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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.
Assimilation, Changes in Cohort Quality, and the Earnings of Immigrants
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Abstract

This paper reexamines the empirical basis for two "facts" that seem to be found in most cross-section studies of immigrant earnings: (1) the earnings of immigrants grow rapidly as they assimilate into the United States; and (2) this rapid growth leads to many immigrants' overtaking the earnings of the natives within 10-15 years after immigration. Using the 1970 and 1980 U.S. censuses, this paper studies the earnings growth experienced by specific immigrant cohorts during the period 1970-80. It is found that within-cohort growth is significantly smaller than the growth predicted by cross-section regressions for most immigrant groups. This differential is consistent with the hypothesis that there has been a secular decline in the "quality" of immigrants admitted to the United States.

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