The Effect of Naturalization on Wage Growth: A Panel Study of Young Male Immigrants
James F. Ragan
Zafar M. Nasir
For young male immigrants, naturalization facilitates assimilation into the U.S. labor market. Following naturalization, immigrants gain access to public-sector, white-collar, and union jobs, and wage growth acceleratesconsistent with removal of employment barriers. The faster wage growth of immigrants who naturalize might alternatively result from greater human capital investment prior to naturalization, stemming from a long-term commitment to U.S. labor markets, but there is no evidence that wage growth accelerates or the distribution of jobs improves until citizenship is attained. Finally, the gains from naturalization are greater for immigrants from less-developed countries and persist when we control for unobserved productivity.
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