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Three essays in immigrant post-migration human capital investment and heterogeneity

TitleThree essays in immigrant post-migration human capital investment and heterogeneity
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsZhou, N.
Date PublishedMay
UniversityConcordia University
CityMontréal, QC

The following thesis consists of three essays. Each one is a study of the issues of the selection effect of Canadian immigration policy, post-migration human capital investment, and their associated effects on immigrants' labour market performance and economic assimilation. All three papers are explored under the consideration of unobserved heterogeneity. The data are taken from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC). The first essay examines the determinants of post-migration human capital investment, and the effects of this investment on immigrant realized utility and wage income from Canadian labour market. Post-migration human capital investment includes Canadian formal education and a general definition of training. This essay concludes that pre-migration human capital complements post-migration human capital investment. Furthermore, the investment in post-migration human capital lubricates immigrants' transfer from unemployment to employment. The second study explores the effects of the 'stock' of human capital that immigrants possess, on their occupational choices in the Canadian labour market. The stock of human capital includes both pre-migration human capital, and the part formed through investing in the destination country. This study confirms that immigrants with more stock of pre-migration human capital are inclined to be employed in white-collar occupations, compared to blue-collar occupations or unemployed and searching for jobs. The findings also indicate that once immigrants complete their first training, they locate at a higher utility level after obtaining employment, either white-, blue-collar occupations or being self-employed. The third essay employs the existence of asymmetric information and its effect on the Canadian labour market. This study explores three plausible signals that are prevalent on the Canadian labour market; it also studys the influence of these signals on the immigrant economic assimilation in the first years after landing. The signals comprise the relative level of formal education, foreign credential recognition and pre-arranged job before migration. Empirical results from this essay confirm that Canadian immigrants who landed around the period the LSIC was held are heterogeneous. Further more, this heterogeneity leads to a different assimilation path within the first four years after landing.

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