Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Economics

Reader 1

Manfred Keil

Rights Information

© 2013 Sonia Singh

Abstract

For years, corporations in the United States have criticized the native workforce for not having enough qualified workers who are skilled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Changing the immigration system could solve their problem. Current debates about how to best accomplish this task stem from different perceptions of whether high-skill immigrants adapt to the labor market, suffer from labor market disadvantages or meet rapid earnings growth. This study examines the initial wage gap immigrants working in the scientific research, development and testing services industry face upon entry to the United States as well as their income assimilation patterns. Ultimately, this paper provides evidence of a wage gap in this industry for recently arrived immigrants and otherwise similar natives, as well as confirms that the earnings for male immigrants in the industry tend to converge toward native levels the longer they remain in the country. Therefore, these results can provide valuable perspective on present immigration debates about whether to reduce immigration levels or change the skill composition of new immigrants.

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