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Spotlight on Immigration: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Immigrants and Their Children

The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment’s (IRLE) mission is to conduct and support research on labor and employment at UC Berkeley. Our goal is to bridge the gap between academic research and the policy world. To achieve this goal, IRLE supports policy-relevant and policy engaged research; disseminates the latest research from our centers, affiliated faculty, and scholars to a wide audience of policymakers, academics and the public; and educates California’s labor, business, and community leaders. IRLE is a research unit at the University of California, Berkeley. We stand apart from individual academic departments under the Vice Chancellor for Research and support research on the entire range of labor and employment issues across campus.

Sandra Susan Smith
Interim Director
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
University of California, Berkeley
2521 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA 94720-5555
http://irle.berkeley.edu/
(510) 643-8140
irle@berkeley.edu

Cover page of ‘I Am Somebody’: Victory Outreach, Masculinity and Upward Mobility in Low-Income Latino Neighbourhoods

‘I Am Somebody’: Victory Outreach, Masculinity and Upward Mobility in Low-Income Latino Neighbourhoods

(2008)

Segmented assimilation theorists posit that second generation immigrants today are at risk of downward acculturation and socio-economic mobility, and that dense co-ethnic communities provide the greatest resistance. Drawing upon data from ethnographic interviews and non-participant observation at a Pentecostal church, this paper will suggest that American-origin religious institutions may provide shelter against downward mobility through ‘religious optimism’. Using a race-gender framework to explain exit from gang lifestyle and acculturation into a group promoting mainstream American values, this paper will suggest that religious optimism may sometimes be infused with traditions from the black Protestant church, as well as inner-city stylistic expressions. Therefore, the first suggestion in this paper is that the segmented assimilation paradigm should not dichotomize the values of immigrant groups against those of native-born blacks and Latinos. The second suggestion in this paper is that segmented assimilation theorists should take into consideration that trajectories may shift in adulthood.

Cover page of Juanita's Money Order:  Income Effects on Human Capital Investment in Mexico

Juanita's Money Order: Income Effects on Human Capital Investment in Mexico

(2007)

In this paper we investigate income e®ects on education expenditures in Mexico. We use the Encuesta Nacional de Ingresos y Gastos de Hogares (ENIGH) from 1984 until 2004. Speci¯cally, we conduct a test of Friedman's Permanent Income Hypothesis by exploring the di®erence in the e®ects of remittances and other types of income on human capital investment in Mexico. In order to identify the permanent and transitory elements in the income of remittance-receiving households, we divide our analysis into four cases. We ¯rst divide households according to whether or not their regular income is primarily from agricultural activities, in which case we assume that their regular income has higher variance (and hence less permanence) than income to non-agricultural households. We then subdivide these two cases into households that receive more than half their total income from remittances and those that do not. In this study, remittance is considered to be permanent if it makes up more than half of the household's total income. We ¯nd that permanent income, whether in the form of remittances or non-remittance income, has a greater e®ect on human capital investment decisions than does transitory income in either form. Therefore, we con¯rm the applicability of Friedman's theory to Mexican data. Furthermore, we show that, for many remittance receivers, remittances are a signi¯cant determining factor in the education spending decisions of the Mexican household. Speci¯cally, when remittances function as permanent income, they have a strong positive relationship with education spending per school-age child. This brings new light to the debate on how remittances are spent in Mexico and whether policymakers should encourage remittances and the ease of transfer.

Cover page of Varieties of Inequality:  Allocation, Distribution, and the Wage Disadvantages of Immigrant Workers

Varieties of Inequality: Allocation, Distribution, and the Wage Disadvantages of Immigrant Workers

(2007)

In this paper, I ask how immigrant/native-born wage gaps differ in two institutionally distinct receiving societies in Western Europe: Sweden, with a comparatively equal wage structure, and the United Kingdom, with a comparatively unequal wage structure. Using large, nationally representative data sets and focusing on 30 immigrant groups that reside in both countries, I document two distinct kinds of inequality between immigrant and native-born workers. In terms of wage percentiles, immigrants fare unambiguously better in the UK, net of human capital, demographic characteristics, and sending country. That is, immigrants achieve higher relative positions in the British labor market than in the Swedish labor market. But immigrant/nativeborn gaps in terms of real wages are at least as large in the UK as in Sweden, and for some groups larger, because overall earnings inequality is so high in the UK. These findings suggest that policies to improve immigrant pay must consider immigrant-specific barriers in the labor market and the detrimental effects of earnings inequality for immigrant workers.

Cover page of The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Immigration

The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Immigration

(2006)

Immigration is a hotly contested policy issue in the United States. Diametrically opposed advocacy groups exchange counterclaims on immigration’s blessings or banes, sometimes with little pretext of objectivity. However, recent decades have also seen a growing body of nonpartisan scholarly analysis of immigration’s fiscal and economic impact in the US. An exploration of such study finds that the preponderance of evidence points to positive net fiscal and economic impacts—albeit modest ones—and negligible effects on native wages and employment rates. Immigration may have other economic impacts—positive and/or negative—not yet captured or measured. More research is needed to further our understanding of immigration’s fiscal and economic effects.