NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Assimilation of Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Markets

Robert J. LaLonde, Robert H. Topel

NBER Working Paper No. 3573
Issued in December 1990
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper reassesses the evidence on the assimilation and the changing labor market skills of immigrants to the United States. We find strong evidence of labor market assimilation for most immigrant groups. For Asian and Mexican immigrants the first ten years experience in the united States raise earnings by more than 20 percent. Further, this estimate may understate the actual rate of assimilation because of the sharp decline in the relative wages of unskilled U.S. workers. We also find little evidence of declining immigrant "quality" within ethnic groups. The diminished labor market skills of new immigrants result entirely from changes in the immigrants' countries of origin.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3573

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