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CRDCN session on immigration at CEA meeting

  • Chris Worswick: Immigrant Married Women's Labour Supply and Human Capital Investment Behaviour

    We analyze the labour market behaviour of immigrant married women and their husbands relative to their native-born counterparts using data from the most recent completed panel (2005-2010) of the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID). Of particular interest is whether the Family Investment Hypothesis (see, for examples, Baker and Benjamin, AER, 1997, and Blau et al AER, 2003), is important in explaining differences in the earnings performance of immigrant married women. The theory states that a secondary earner, typically assumed to be the wife, may be required to distort her optimal behavior so as to generate income to support family consumption expenditures through: 1) working long hours, and/or 2) foregoing post-migration human capital investments, in order to allow the primary earner, typically assumed to be the husband, to make post migration investments in their careers. In particular, it will only be optimal for the immigrant family to do this if the household faces credit constraints (Worswick, CJE, 1999). Otherwise, the investment made to support either spouse's earnings could be funded through borrowing against the future income generated. We will explore these issues using longitudinal data which will allow us to estimate dynamic labour supply and human capital investment models allowing for the possibility of credit constraints. This will be a significant improvement in terms of the past research for either Canada or the US which has relied solely on cross-sectional data.

  • Ather H. Akbari: An investigation of the causes of immigrant and non-immigrant earning differentials across Canadian regions

    Studies that have compared the earnings of immigrants with non-imigrants in smaller regions of Canada have found that immigrants tend to earn more than non-immigrants. However, a detailed investigation of the causes of this differential is lacking. Dividing Canada into three regions, i.e., Atlantic, Central and Western, and using a human capital earnings function, we investigate: 1) how do immigrant earnings compare with non-immigrants in the three regions and 2) what are the possible causes of the regional differences in the observed immigrant and non-immigrant earning differetials. We use 20 percent microdata files based on 2006 census for which we have obtained access through Atlantic RDC. Our results indicate that: 1) although immigrants' educational attainment is rewarded below that of non-immigrants across all regions, immigrants face lower devaluation of their credentials in smaller regions such as Atlantic Canada and 2) although the educational attainments of immigrants are higher than those of non-immigrants, this is more so in smaller regions such as Atlantic Canada. These results are explained in the light of recent policy and community initiatives to attract and retain skilled immigrants in smaller regions. The findings also suggest that an analysis of the economic performance of immigrants that uses only the "national" data, and does not account for regional differences, is likely to yield misleading results.

  • Chunling Fu: Immigrant labour Market Participation and Earnings: The Effect Regulation

    Does regulation impede or facilitate immigrant participation in the labor market? To answer this question we focus on two occupations within the growing, and increasingly regulated, Canadian health care sector: psychologists, and social workers. On the one hand, occupational regulation may facilitate immigrant entry into the labor market as it imposes standards based on credentials, and recent immigrants tend to be highly skilled. On the other hand, regulatory standards are often enforced by provincially designated authorities whose selection criterion may unwittingly penalize those with foreign credentials or experience. Using a data set combining information on the regulation of Canadian health care occupations and the Canadian Censuses from 1986 to 2006, we test whether the introduction of regulation places a greater burden on the immigrant population relative to the native born. Specifically, we employ a difference in difference methodology, exploiting variation across provinces and over time in whether an occupation is regulated, to identify its effect on the likelihood that immigrants and native born workers are employed in that occupation. We also estimate the impact of regulation on the earnings in that occupation for both immigrants and native born workers.

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