Earning Trajectories of Highly Educated Immigrants: Does Place of Education Matter?
The author compares the earnings and earning trajectories of U.S. college-educated immigrants with those of similar immigrants who completed their education abroad using cross-sectional and longitudinal data from the 1993 and 2003 National Surveys of College Graduates. Adjusting for demographics, results based on cross-sectional data suggest that the annual earnings of college-educated, foreign-born men were 9% less than those of similar U.S.-born men whereas the annual earnings of college-educated foreign-born women were 3% less than those of similar U.S.-born women. After further adjusting for place of education, however, the gap narrowed by 42% for men and vanished for women. An analysis of longitudinal data reveals that in the first 15 years after arrival, U.S.-educated, foreign-born science and engineering (S&E) professionals had higher earnings growth (relative to native-born S&E professionals) than their foreign-educated counterparts. Evidence also indicates that attrition was associated with labor market performance. Of those in the sample, U.S.-educated S&E professionals who stayed had higher earnings than those who exited.