Educational Attainment and Labor Market Integration of Young Adults, with Emphasis on Second-Generation Immigrants

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Saeed, Mohammed
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Middle Tennessee State University
The first chapter is the economic assimilation of second generation Immigrants. The population of second generation Americans (U.S. born individuals of foreign-born parents) stood at 45 million in 2015. The labor market outcomes of this large segment of the population can provide useful insights into the long-run contribution of immigration to the US labor force and economy. This study uses a longitudinal data set and makes use of detailed personal and family characteristics to study the economic assimilation of second generation immigrants. The use of longitudinal data allows us to examine the relative wage evolution of second generation immigrants in the US. The trends show that second generation immigrant adolescents begin their careers with a wage advantage over natives (third and subsequent generations of immigrants), which diminishes as they age. Overall, we find female second generation immigrants to have a wage advantage of about 8 percent over natives whereas male second generation immigrants have a small or no wages advantage over native males once personal and parental characteristics are controlled for.
The second chapter investigate the Impact of physical appearance on the transition from high school to full-time employment Due to changes in the structure of the economy since the 1980s, the average time it takes a job-seeker with only a high school diploma to gain full-time employment has been increasing. Several reasons have been proffered for the low transition from high school graduation to full-time employment, but these reasons have been shifting over time. Against this background, I propose an additional element, physical attribute, that may explain the low transition from high school graduation to full-time employment. Using both parametric and semi-parametric hazard models, I show that physical appearance affects the odds of transitioning from high school to full-time employment. I find that job-seekers who have only a high school diploma and who are well below average in physical height, spend on average, five more months unemployed compared to others. There is no significant reduction in the odds of exiting unemployment for taller job-seekers, suggesting a shortness penalty, but not a height premium. Additionally, I find the likelihood of obese job-seekers transitioning from high school to full-time employment is about 28% lower than that of non-obese job-seekers. With the economy predominantly service oriented, these results imply job-seekers with less than desirable physical attributes will face challenging labor market conditions for the foreseeable future.
The third and the final chapter examines the impact of parental education on the educational attainment of second generation immigrants (SGI). Leveraging the rich parental characteristics available in the NLSY, I contrast the effect of parental years of schooling on the years of schooling and degree attainment of natives and second generation immigrants. I find a positive correlation between parental schooling and the educational attainment for both natives and SGI. The impact is more pronounced for natives than for the average SGI. The results seem to indicate that some immigrant parents invest more in the education of their children to help them achieve socio-economic mobility. These also robust to the inclusion of several parental socio-economic characteristics and controls for the ability of the children.