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Borjas: The Slowdown in the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants
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June 21, 2013, 03:09 AM
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Here`s a new paper from Harvard economist George Borjas:
The Slowdown in the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants: Aging and Cohort Effects Revisited Again 
George J. Borjas 
NBER Working Paper No. 19116 
Issued in June 2013 
This paper uses data drawn from the 1970-2010 decennial Censuses to examine the evolution of immigrant earnings in the U.S. labor market. The analysis reveals that there are cohort effects not only in the level of earnings, with more recent cohorts generally having relatively lower entry wages, but also in the rate of growth of earnings, with more recent cohorts having a smaller rate of economic assimilation. Immigrants who entered the country before the 1980s typically found that their initial wage disadvantage (relative to natives) narrowed by around 15 percentage points during their first two decades in the United States. In contrast, the immigrants who entered the country after the 1980s have a negligible rate of wage convergence. Part of the slowdown in wage convergence reflects a measurable reduction in the actual rate of human capital accumulation. In particular, there has been a concurrent decline in the rate at which the newer immigrant cohorts are “picking up” English language skills. The study isolates one factor that explains part of these trends: The rate of increase in English language proficiency is significantly slower for larger national origin groups. The growth in the size of these groups accounts for about a quarter of the decline in the rates of human capital acquisition and economic assimilation.