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Department of Economics, University of Oslo Memorandum

No 20/2002:
Local Unemployment and the Relative Wages of Immigrants: Evidence from the Current Population Surveys

Erling Barth (), Bernt Bratsberg () and Oddbjørn Raaum ()

Abstract: We provide evidence on wage profiles of immigrants using CPS data from 1979 to 2001, taking into account that changes in labor market conditions impact natives and immigrants differently. High rates of immigrant wage assimilation in general, and relatively high wages of immigrant cohorts that arrived during the 1990s in particular, can largely be explained by a negative trend in unemployment in the data. Relating immigrant and native period effects to local labor market unemployment, we find that wage assimilation among lesser-educated immigrants is negligible and that the immigrant-native wage gap is strongly increasing in unemployment. For highly educated immigrants, rates of wage assimilation during early years in the United States are higher the lower is unemployment.

Keywords: immigrants; unemployment; assimilation; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: J61; J82; (follow links to similar papers)

55 pages, June 17, 2003

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