Nationality and Income Attainment among Native and Immigrant Hispanic Men in the United States*


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    This research was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (No. 21–55–79–27), and computational support was provided by a grant to the Center for Demography and Ecology from the Center of Population Research of the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (HD–05876). Institutional support was provided by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The Institute for Research on Poverty, and the Graduate School Research Committee. The author has benefited from comments by George Borjas, programming assistance from Ronald Angel, and editorial assistance from Elizabeth Evanson.

Marta Tienda's address is Department of Rural Sociology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706.


This study examines earnings inequality between Hispanic-origin men and non-Hispanic white men (referred to as white) using the 1976 Survey of Income and Education. Results show that human capital and labor supply variables have more impact on Hispanic earnings than labor market characteristics. Post-school job experience and weeks worked conform most consistently to the predictions of micro-economic labor theory. Formal schooling, while positively related to earnings, does not uniformly influence job rewards among Hispanic-origin groups. Ecological variables (social and economic organization) of the labor market have less impact on earnings. There is some evidence that whites benefit from the presence of large concentrations of minority workers, while two Hispanic groups—native Mexican and other Spanish men—are negatively affected by high concentrations of Hispanic workers. A composition analysis shows that from 10 to 50 percent of the earnings gap between Hispanic and white men may be attributable to discrimination.