Labor Market Outcomes of Black African Immigrants in the United States: A Comparison with U.S. and Caribbean Born Blacks

Rebbeca Tesfai, University of Pennsylvania

The questions of whether and why black immigrants earn higher wages than US-born blacks have been discussed since the 1970s with no consensus. This study uses 2000 US census data to highlight sample selection as a possible reason for lack of agreement in previous research. Without consistent definitions of ethnic groups and without differentiating between full and part-time employees, researchers may have found an immigrant wage advantage where one does not exist, thereby explaining illusory wage differentials. The sample chosen for this analysis differs from previous samples by defining Caribbean and African immigrants by linguistic heritage and using full-time employment as a selection criterion in the wage equation. I find that selection into full time employment is a key determinant in wage differences among blacks in the United States causing the wage results here to differ from that of previous studies. Methodological and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

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Presented in Poster Session 1