The Decision to Work by Married Immigrant Women

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1993-07

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Abstract

Using 1980 Census data, the authors analyze the labor force participation of married immigrant Asian women by country of origin, compared with that of married immigrant women from Europe and Canada. The results suggest the existence of a family investment strategy: evidence from both across groups and within groups indicates that a woman's decision to work is affected by whether she has a husband who invests in skills specific to the U.S. labor market, and also by the extent of that investment. Such a family response may help offset the low earnings of immigrant men who initially lack skills for which there is a demand in the American labor market.

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