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ATTRACTING GLOBAL TALENT AND THEN WHAT? OVEREDUCATED IMMIGRANTS IN THE UNITED STATES

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  • The authors thank two anonymous reviewers and the participants of the International Workshop on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Tinbergen Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, May 2011 for their insightful comments on a previous version of this paper. The first author notes that the views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the U.S. Census Bureau.

ABSTRACT

This research assesses the prevalence and determinants of job–education mismatches among male immigrants in the United States between 1980 and 2009. The results suggest that educational attainment levels do not match occupational education requirements for almost half of all immigrants. Overeducation among high-skilled immigrants vastly exceeds that of comparable natives. Probit models of overeducation suggest that: (i) personal characteristics operate in similar fashion for immigrants and natives; (ii) immigrant brain waste is above average in gateway states, metropolitan areas and in prosperous high-wage areas; and (iii) proficiency in English and length of residence reduce the overeducation risk among high-skilled immigrants.

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