Essays in Legalization, Migration, and Diaspora
Yang, Judy Sihan
Chapter 1 presents a global survey of Chinese immigrants, and the events and policies that contributed to their current diaspora. Chinese migration is extremely varied, ranging from students to low-skilled guest workers.Historically, Chinese settlements in foreign countries were discouraged by anti-Chinese immigration policies and business restrictions. Contemporary migration has flowed primarily to English speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United States. There are also large flows of Chinese migrants to regions of the world that were not historically popular destinations. Using recent national census data from 26 countries, characteristics of the Chinese-born can be compared globally.In the United States, foreigners with Green Cards have legal advantages in the labor market compared to temporary or undocumented foreigners. Chapter 2 examines the spatial heterogeneity between the proportion of working foreigners with Green Cards and their aggregate earnings across occupation, country of origin, state, and year of entry. A significant positive relationship is found, and several sensitivity tests are performed. I findthe earnings elasticity with respect to the proportion of foreign workers who are Green Card holders is 0.015, and the elasticity is even larger for newly arriving immigrants and for those in lower skilled occupations. Whileprevious estimates of the impacts from legalization are mostly limited to IRCA immigrants, these results show that legalization has benefits for the broader foreign population.In Chapter 3, I find a higher proportion of U.S. residency under Permanent status, or a fast path to immigration, is significantly and positively related to current earnings as a Permanent Resident. Evaluated at the mean, the elasticity of earnings with respect to the speed to immigration is 0.16. This evidence suggests a fast path to immigration is beneficial to earnings, while a slow path can result in wage scarring that persists even after a foreigner becomes a Permanent Resident. Identification is achieved from assumptions on the second moment conditions.
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