Labor market penalties for foreign degrees among college educated immigrants

Caren A. Arbeit, John Robert Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Are college degrees earned abroad worth less in the American economy than degrees earned in the United States? Do the labor market penalties associated with holding a foreign degree vary as a function of the country or region in which it was earned? Do these processes differ for men and women? We use data on 18,361 college-educated immigrants from the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) to address these questions. Female immigrants with foreign degrees are less likely to be employed than immigrant women who earned their degrees in the US. When employed, both female and male immigrants with foreign degrees are less likely to work in a job related to their highest college degree. Among employed female immigrants, the wage returns to foreign degrees are about 17% less than for US degrees; among male immigrants, this figure is about 11%. For both female and male immigrants, the labor market penalties associated with holding a foreign degree vary as a function of the region from which the foreign degree was obtained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-871
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Science Research
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Julia Drew, Penny Edgell, Cathy Fitch, Eric Grodsky, Carolyn Liebler, Lying Luo, Phyllis Moen, the Gifford Migration Workgroup at U.C. Davis, and the anonymous reviewers for comments on this paper. However, all errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors. Support for this research has been provided by U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES) training grant: Title: Interdisciplinary Education Sciences Training Program IES Award #R305C050059 University of Minnesota PRF# 473473.

Keywords

  • Education
  • Gender
  • Immigrant
  • Labor market
  • Wages
  • Work

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