Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Labor-Market Achievements of Second Generation Immigrants to Israel

Academic journal article The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies

Labor-Market Achievements of Second Generation Immigrants to Israel

Article excerpt


Labor market behavior in general, and of the foreign born and their descendants, in particular, is one of the interesting issues examined along two parallel lines by economists and sociologists. Economists focused on individual-level determinants of income achievements, emphasizing human capital (Becker 1975) and experience in the labor market (Mincer 1974). Sociologists focused on status attainments and examined, in addition to the characteristics of the individual, the effects of background factors such as parental education and ocupational status (Blau and Duncan 1967); number of siblings (Duncan 1968); cognitive ability and personality variables (Duncan et al. 1972; Jencks et al. 1972); social-psychological variables (Sewell and Hauser 1972; Sewell et al. 1969, 1970), and the effects of social ties on the individual's occupational achievements (Granovetter 1973; De Graaf and Flapp 1988; Lin, Vaughn and Ensel 1982a, b; Marsden and Hurlbert 2988; Preisendorfer and Voss 1988).

The present paper fills in a gap in this field of research by integrating both points of views, in two respects. First, it examines an individual's target function with two labor-market-related goals, one in the economic order -- income -- and the other in the social sphere -- prestige. Second, it integrates in a single analysis, all three types of capital, human, social, and cultural, available to the individual both through personal and parental resources.

This paper examines the achievements of the second generation, sons and daughters, of Iraqi Jews who immigrated to Israel during the years 1950-1951. The model is presented in the second section, the statistical analysis and main findings are presented in the third section, the summary and conclusions are in the final section. The detailed definition of the variables included in the analysis and their measurement is presented in the appendix.


The present study models the socioeconomic behavior of second generation, sons and daughters of immigrants. The model is built on three necessary conditions that are assumed to characterize the society that these immigrants entered. First, the immigrants arrive at an economy that is dominated by a different ethnic group. Second, the immigrants do not form a minority in the new society. They become integrated into the veteran population by virtue of some characteristics shared with the dominant group. Third, social and economic gaps between the immigrants and the veteran group develop, favoring the latter, and these gaps do not diminish in time. Israel complies with these three conditions, and serves as a case study for the present paper. During the 1950s, Jewish immigrants from Islamic countries (collectively referred to as "Orientals") arrived in Israel and became part of the dominant Israeli Jewish population, which at that time consisted mostly of the veteran Ashkenazi group, the vast majority of them being of Eastern European origin. The Oriental immigrants were different from Ashkenazi Jews in almost every respect, and social and economic gaps between them developed, persisted, and even widened in the second generation. At present, Ashkenazi Jews constitute the dominant ethnic group on all socioeconomic dimensions (Benski et al. 1991; Kraus 1982, 1984; Nahon 1984, 1987; Smooha 1978, 1984, 1985). Their culture is considered the "dominant", "mainstream", or "the Israeli" culture, the model that Oriental Jews were expected to emulate, and many of them did (Eisenstadt 1984; Peres 1977, 1985; Smooha 1978, 1984, 1985).

These special conditions present the immigrants with a target function with two complementary labor-market-related goals through which they can try to change their inferior position in society: one in the economic order (income), and the other in the social realm (prestige). The model consists of two categories of independent variables that are assumed to affect income and prestige levels. …

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