Moving Out and Staying in the Ethnic Economy

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Abstract

Our study drew on a data set of 513 Chinese immigrants that was collected in Toronto in 1998 and 1999. We looked at how prior experiences in the ethnic economy affect current job transitions. Our analysis went beyond previous studies by situating job transition in the context of the economic integration of immigrants, with consideration of possible competing job transition outcomes and previous recurrent job transitions. Descriptive information in the study showed evidence of both forms of job transition outcomes, that is, either shifting away from or staying in the ethnic economy. Based on the competing risks model of event history analysis, which simultaneously considers different job transition outcomes, the results confirm that prior experience in the ethnic economy increases the likelihood of job transition away from and also remaining in the ethnic economy. However, the results also clearly suggest that those who have a higher level of English language ability are more likely to shift away from the ethnic economy. Results from the repeated events model show that the recurrent job transition experience does change the effects related to job transitions within the ethnic economy, where a customary working environment is expected.

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