The Educational Attainment of Immigrants: Trends and Implications
85 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 1999 Last revised: 2 Apr 2001
Date Written: October 1998
This paper uses the 1970, 1980, and 1990 U.S. Censuses to study trends in educational attainment of immigrants relative to natives. Immigrants have become relatively less highly educated, but have become more highly educated in an absolute sense. The effects of changes in relative educational attainment between immigrants and natives on earnings are studied. Educational differences are found to explain more than half the observed wage gap between the two groups. The paper also allows for non-linearities in returns to education. Sheepskin effects influence earnings in different ways for natives and immigrants. Differences in returns to pre- and post-migration education also appear. The paper also finds evidence that immigrants crowd natives out of education, although the effects are stronger in secondary than in postsecondary education.
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