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Cultural Integration and Occupational Achievement among Mexican Immigrants along the US-Mexico Border

Vol. 9, No 1, 2016

Rojhat B. Avsar

 

Department of Humanities, History and Social Sciences,

Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, USA,

 

ravsar@colum.edu

CULTURAL INTEGRATION AND OCCUPATIONAL

ACHIEVEMENT AMONG MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS ALONG THE US- MEXICO BORDER

 

 

 

Abstract.This paper investigates the impact of English speaking ability and age at arrival in the U.S., considered as two major proxies for the degree of social/cultural integration, on occupational achievements of Mexican immigrants in two heavily populated border counties, El Paso (TX) and Pima (AZ). Our various empirical findings point out two major tendencies: first, English fluency appears to be the most important determinant of the position of Mexican immigrants on the occupational ladder. Second, early migration to the U.S. appears to further improve the position of Mexican immigrants in the labor market indicating that there may be components of (cultural) integration/assimilation, which we call “Americanization premium,” that are not fully captured by English proficiency alone. Although such premium exists, its magnitude, interestingly, varies between El Paso and Pima. Finally, we will provide a potential explanation for this puzzle.

 

Received: October, 2015

1st Revision: January, 2016

Accepted: February, 2016

 

DOI: 10.14254/2071- 789X.2016/9-1/9

JEL Classification: J31, J61, J71, R1, B52

Keywords: Cultural integration, Mexican immigrants, English skills, occupational distribution.