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Social Capital is Associated with Earnings among Foreign-born Mexican Men but not Women in Los Angeles County

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Abstract

The mechanisms through which social capital is accumulated may influence its relationship with hourly earnings. Because Mexican men and women accumulate social capital differently, for instance, gender may be an important factor for understanding social capital’s association with Mexican migrant earnings. Unlike past research that often fails to differentiate between various social capital metrics (e.g., social network member reciprocity, participation in civic group organizations, neighbourhood trust), this article estimates two of these associations with wages while controlling for individual-, household- and neighbourhood-level characteristics. Results suggest that foreign-born Mexican men receive a wage premium from civic participation (bridging social capital) and a wage penalty from reciprocal social network exchange (bonding social capital). We also find that unauthorized legal status (among Mexican men and all migrants) and having children (among women) were negatively associated with hourly wages. We conclude with a discussion of the relative association of human and social capital with Mexican migrant wages.

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