The payoff to schooling among the foreign born in the United States is only around one-half of the payoff for the native born. This paper examines whether this differential is related to the quality of the schooling immigrants acquired abroad. The paper uses the overeducation/required education/undereducation specification of the earnings equation to explore the transmission mechanism for the origin-country school-quality effects. It also assesses the empirical merits of two alternative measures of the quality of schooling undertaken abroad. The results suggest that a higher quality of schooling acquired abroad is associated with a higher payoff to schooling among immigrants in the US labor market. This higher payoff is associated with a higher payoff to correctly matched schooling in the United States, and a greater (in absolute value) penalty associated with years of undereducation. A set of predictions is presented to assess the relative importance of these channels, and the undereducation channel is shown to be the more influential factor. This channel is linked to greater positive selection in migration among those from countries with better quality schools. In other words, it is the impact of origin-country school quality on the immigrant selection process, rather than the quality of immigrants' schooling per se, that is the major driver of the lower payoff to schooling among immigrants in the United States.
Chiswick, B. and Miller, P. (2010), "Chapter 4 The Effects of School Quality in the Origin on the Payoff to Schooling for Immigrants", Epstein, G. and Gang, I. (Ed.) Migration and Culture (Frontiers of Economics and Globalization, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 67-103. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1574-8715(2010)0000008010Download as .RIS
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