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Wage earnings of Chinese in the United States: individual and contextual determinants

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Title: Wage earnings of Chinese in the United States: individual and contextual determinants
Author: Qin, Bibin
Abstract: The objective of this dissertation is to identify both individual and contextual characteristics that may affect the wage earnings of Chinese in the U.S. labor market. The major individual characteristics include education, labor experience, and English ability; the contextual factors include percent of Chinese Americans, percent of Asian Americans, percent of nonwhites, percent of Chinese-owned businesses, occupational and residential segregation between Chinese and whites, and unemployment rate. Using the combined data of one percent and five percent 2000 Public Use Microdata Samples for 70 metropolitan areas, hierarchical linear models (HLM) were run for three groups of Chinese: native-born, foreign-born U.S. citizens, and foreignborn non-U.S. citizens. The results show that the returns to education are highest for the native-borns but lowest for the non-U.S. citizens. A command of good English benefits recent immigrants more than the native-borns. Labor experience tends to bring positive gains to both native-born and foreign-born U.S. citizens but shows no effects on earnings of foreign-born non-U.S. citizens. The results support both the human capital and assimilation perspectives. The HLM results indicate that occupational segregation from majority whites tends to impose a strong and negative effect on the earnings of native-born Chinese; a higher percentage of Chinese-owned businesses tends to increase the earnings of only foreign-born U.S. citizens; unemployment rate is likely to depress the wage earnings of the foreign-borns but not the native-borns. This suggests that Chinese workers with a different immigration history face the labor market differently. Residential segregation, percent of Chinese Americans, percent of Asian Americans, and percent of nonwhites, do not show any direct effects. Occupational segregation, the percent of Chinese-owned businesses, and the representation of the Chinese population are found to impact earnings indirectly through the individual characteristics. All these findings suggest that contextual factors do not necessarily impose direct effects on wage earnings; however, they may transfer their effects onto earnings via individual characteristics. This study represents an attempt to bring new insights into earnings attainment models and an addition to the meager body of knowledge concerning both individual and contextual factors that may affect the earnings process of a minority group in the United States. The strengths of using the HLM techniques, the limitations of the study, as well as issues for future study, were also discussed.
Publisher: Texas A&M University
Subject: Wage earnings
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/3213
Date: 2005-12


Qin, Bibin (2005). Wage earnings of Chinese in the United States: individual and contextual determinants. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /3213.

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