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The depletion and restoration of migrants' human capital

Wood, G.A. (1992) The depletion and restoration of migrants' human capital. Journal of Industrial Relations, 34 (4). pp. 550-561.

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Studies of the assimilation of migrants into the Australian labour market suggest that migrants receive lower returns from schooling, experience and qualifications. However, as period of residence lengthens there is evidence that migrant wages catch up with those of Australian-born residents. This convergence can be attributed to the ‘repair’ of human capital eroded due to the non-transferability of country- and firm-specific skills and knowledge. Combining data on migrant arrivals with census data on overseas- born residents, the present paper estimates the changing occupational mix among a cohort of migrants. The occupational mix is used to construct a proxy measure for the stock of human capital. We find that migrants experience an initial loss of human capital, although the restoration phase is a short one of no more than three or four years. However, beyond this restoration phase migrants from non-English-speaking countries do not match the rate of human capital accumulation achieved by Australian- born residents.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Murdoch Business School
Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
Copyright: © 1992, Sage Publications
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