Ethnic Labor Market Contexts and the Earnings of Asian Immigrants

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Abstract

Our paper examines how group specific metropolitan level factors affect the earnings of six major Asian immigrant groups in the United States: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Drawing upon the theoretical perspectives of structural assimilation and ethnic economies, we develop several testable research hypotheses which are examined for the six Asian groups utilizing group specific multilevel regressions models. What is novel in this analysis is the comparison of the six Asian groups in different metropolitan areas in order to examine how variation in metropolitan context interacts with individual characteristics to influence individual earnings in wage or salaried occupations. The results show that the impact of metropolitan context is not uniform, but varied across and within the groups according to their different group and individual characteristics. We argue that future research strategy to establish the relationship between assimilation factors and immigrant earnings should put high priority on considering the distinctiveness of each immigrant group and the recent geographic diversification of immigrant destinations.

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