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Technological Change, Occupational Tasks and Declining Immigrant Outcomes: Implications for Earnings and Income Inequality in Canada

Casey Warman, Christopher Worswick

NBER Working Paper No. 21307
Issued in June 2015
NBER Program(s):The Labor Studies Program

The earnings and occupational task requirements of immigrants to Canada are analyzed. The growing education levels of immigrants in the 1990s have not led to a large improvement in earnings as one might expect if growing computerization and the resulting technological change was leading to a rising return to non-routine cognitive skills and a greater wage return to university education. Controlling for education, we find a pronounced cross-arrival cohort decline in earnings that coincided with cross-cohort declines in cognitive occupational task requirements and cross-cohort increases in manual occupational task requirements. The immigrant earnings outcomes had only a small effect on overall Canadian earnings inequality.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21307

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