NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Why Are Some Immigrant Groups More Successful than Others?

Edward P. Lazear

NBER Working Paper No. 23548
Issued in June 2017, Revised in November 2018
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

Success of immigrants in the US, measured by earnings or education, varies dramatically by country of origin. Surprisingly, immigrants from Algeria have higher educational attainment than those from Israel or Japan. Another fact: The US admits few migrants from Algeria. Immigration slots are rationed and as a consequence, average immigrant attainment is inversely related to the number from a source country and positively related to its population and education level. The formal model’s three variables explain 73% of the variation in educational attainment of immigrant groups in the US. The theory and predictions are bolstered by Swedish and Canadian data.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23548

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