Warmth of the Welcome: The Social Causes of Economic Success for Immigrants in Different Nations and Cities

By Jeffrey G. Reitz | Go to book overview

Notes

Chapter One
1.
The proportion intending to work at all was somewhat higher in Canada. In 1972, for example, the proportion intending to work was 46.7 percent in Canada, and 40.9 percent in the United States. These figures were declining somewhat over time in both countries. The data on intention to work in highly skilled occupations cannot be compared directly because the "professional" category in U.S. data is broader than the same category in the Canadian data. Nevertheless, the data on year-to-year trends in each country reveal potentially important information about the effect of policy. In Canada, the proportion of immigrants classified as intending professional occupations rose from 12.1 percent in 1956-1961 to 23.5 percent in 1962-1967--before the introduction of the points system. The fact that the proportion was higher in later years (it rose to 30.7 percent in 1968 and to 32.3 percent in 1969 and then fell slightly, reaching 26.8 percent in 1972) suggests that other factors might be more important than the points system in determining immigrants' skill levels. In the United States, the proportion of those intending professional employment was 17.4 percent over 1953-1965, before the new policy, and increased from 24.6 percent in 1966-1968 to 31.9 percent in 1971 and 31.1 percent in 1972. It appears that the trend toward increasing skill levels was somewhat independent of the major policy changes.
2.
Immigrant skills rose over the period 1961 through 1976 in the United States. Keely and Elwell state: "The proportionally smaller contributions to the workforce from Europe and the Americas were also contributions of less-skilled workers. The converse was true of Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Their proportional contributions to the workforce were greater, and they were of a higher occupational level" (p. 198).
3.
The U.S. census measures years of schooling. The Canadian census measures years of various types of schooling, including elementary, secondary, university, and nonuniversity schooling. The Canadian measure might be more inclusive than the U.S. one, if the U.S. census question does not always capture vocational schooling. Thus, there might be an upward bias in the Canadian measure. See Duleep and Regets ( 1992, 426).
4.
In recent publications, Borjas has introduced the argument that immigration policy nonetheless has a skill-selective effect by shaping the mix of immigrant origins, although he recognizes that policy does not necessarily affect the skill levels of immigrants from particular points of origin. However, even this origins-mix effect on immigrant skills is highly doubtful. The issue is reviewed in Chapter 3.

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