Quality Changes of Female Immigrants during 1970-2000

Xiaohan Hu, University of Maryland

The purpose of this paper is to examine the quality changes of female immigrants during 1970-2000, using Census data. The quality is estimated in both observable and unobservable dimensions. I examine two observable human capital variables – educational attainment and language ability, and find there are obvious trend changes following the changes in immigration law regime. To estimate the unobservable quality changes, I calculate the differences of regression-adjusted wages between two cohorts using the methodology in Borjas (1985). It is found that the female immigrants' quality declines over time, with the decline in the most recent 10 years less obvious than in the previous two decades. Moreover, the quality declines of female immigrants are smaller in magnitude compared to those of male immigrants. To address the estimation problems caused by women's discontinuous work history and endogenous selection into labor force, I make some modifications to Borjas's model.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Migration, Urbanization, Neighborhood and Residential Context