Subfield Exam: Immigration and Stratification Theory

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1. Theory (Various Sorts)

Date: 10.07.2011

Title: The Age of Migration

Author: Stephen castles and Mark J. Miller

Source: Book, 1993 (2009),The Guilford Press

Category and Keyword: migration, theory


  • All chapters give reader overview of issues on migration.


  • Two Groups:

    • Determinants, processes and patterns of migration

    • The ways in which migrants become incorporated into receiving societies.

  • Migratory Process: Sums up the complex set of factors and interactions which lead to international migration and influence is course.

Economic Theories

  • Neoclassical theory:

    • The dominant paradigm in economics and has had an important role in migration studies.

    • Began with no study of migratory movement, but laws (Ravenstein 1800s); people move from densely to highly populated areas, low to high income areas

    • Ideas of Push – Pull Factors

    • Assumes potential migrants have perfect knowledge of wage levels and employment opportunities in destination regions – decisions overwhelmingly based on economic factors

  • Segmented or Dual Labor Market Theory:

    • Importance of institutional factors and race and gender – brining about labor market segmentation. (Sassen) (Waldinger)

    • This focuses on the demand-side, focusing on this, emphasizing that migration is driven by structural factors in modern capitalist economies;

  • New Economics of Labor Migration:

    • migration decisions are not made by isolated individuals, but by families, households or even communities. (Massey)

    • =new unit of analysis – not individual but social group

    • Like neo-classical, focuses on supply side of migration: that is, the factors that impel people to cross borders in search of work

  • MASSEY 1998: migration occurs for reasons more than economics

    • States Play a role

    • Nation building

    • Refugee and asylum policies

  • Think this way: It seems crucial to reconceptualize migration as a complex process in which economic, political, social and cultural factors all work together.

  • Historical-Institutional:

    • A way the world mobilized cheap labor (70s & 80s)

    • Dependency Theory

    • World Systems Theory

    • Human AGENCY: (The motivations and actions of the individuals and groups involved) – not paid to – enough in neo-classical theories

  • Migration Systems Theory

    • is constituted by two or more countries which exchange migrants with each other.

    • suggests that migratory movements generally arise from the existence of prior links between sending and receiving countries based on colonization

    • BASIC principal: is that any migratory movement can be seen as the result of interacting macro- micro-structures.

    • Macro-Structure: includes political economy of the world market, interstate relationships, and the laws, structures and practices established by the states …

    • Micro-structure: are the informal social networks developed by the migrants themselves, in order to cope with migration and settlement …

      • rule of cultural capital (information, knowledge of other countries, capabilities for organizing travel, finding work and adapting to a new environment)

      • Social capital (personal relationships, family and household patterns, friendship and community ties and mutual help in economic and social matters)

    • Meso-Structures: Certain individuals, groups or institutions take on the role of mediating between migrants and political or economic institutions. – Migration industry (formal / informal); i.e. law

  • Transnationalism:

    • This notion puts the emphasis on human agency. Linkages easier to maintain. (Portes has transnationalism from above versus from below); (=powerful actors like multinational corporations versus grass-roots initiatives by immigrants and their home country counterparts)

2 Theories in Stratification

Date: 09.13.2011

Title: New Light on Old Issues: The Relevance of “Really Existing Socialist Societies” for Stratification Theory

Author: Gerhard Lenski

Source: 2001 Book Ed. by D. Grusky Social Stratification

Category and Keyword: Stratification; Socialism; Communism; Capitalism


  • To argue that stratification scientists will benefit from studying why Marxism as practiced in socialist countries, failed.


  • By abolishing private property, rewards shifted from material incentives to moral incentives. Marxism’s critical flaw was its unrealistic assumptions about human nature.


  • Economic inequalities after the Fall of Eastern states were larger than Lenski was aware.

= Nicolae Ceaucescu had 40 villas / Swiss Bank account. / Sandinistas in Nicaragua lived in palaces of former dictator.

  • Not aberrations to European socialism

  • Nevertheless, these inequalities never reached the level of inequalities in Western Democracies, i.e. of Western businessmen. Still, political inequality was greater under Marxist societies.

  • Marxist societies were the result of inadequate motivational arrangements of the sort debated by Davis and Moore (1945), Tumin (1953).

=1. undermotivation of ordinary workers and 2. misdirected motivation of managers, bureaucrats, and other decision-makers.

  • Hypocrisy: The Marxist elite preached socialism and the need for sacrifice while enjoying special privileges (like special stores and neighborhoods).

  • Internal factors (wage leveling of Brezhnev) VS External factors (Western espionage)

  • Problem: Marx’ understanding of human nature of 19th century, whereby corrupting social institutions may be eliminated by rational social engineering. Marx sees private property as the source of the problem. (=faulty assumption of human nature)

  • Problem: Defective organizational arrangements spawned by the command economies (i.e. bonus’ for quantity by manager)

  • Worker performance deteriorated when freed from fear of unemployment and lacking adequate material incentives. (E.G. East German workers)

  • Workers become cynical – quantity over quality.

  • Davis correct: successful incentives 1) motivate the best qualified people for the most important positions 2) Motivating them to the best of their ability once there in them.

  • Point: capitalism not better; we have mixed economies. Rewards partly based on NEED, WORK, and PROPERTY.

  • Mixed Economies recognize need for material motivations and benefits of economic inequality.

2 Theories in Stratification

Date: 09.13.2011

Title: Immigration and the Wages of Native Workers: The Spatial Versus the Occupational Approaches

Author: ChangHwan Kim AND Arthur Sakamoto

Source: Sociolgoical Focus 2011

Category and Keyword: immigration, wages, native workers, occupations, spatial analysis


  • Investigate the multivariate association between the proportion immigrant and the wages of native workers using the occupational approach, so as to avoid the endogenous problems of the spatial approach.


  • Conventional wisdom: immigrants do the jobs that Americans will not do.

  • Be skeptical of pseudo-functionalist assumptions which purport that changes in economic conditions have no negative impacts on any less advantaged social groups.


  • Fixed-effects panel regression models are estimated using occupational categories as the unit of analysis.

  • Data: CPS from 1994 to 2006: Outgoing Rotation Group;

  • Who in Data: non-institutionalized, non-military population aged 18 to 64 who were employed in the private sector. In this study, the three-digit occupation is the unit of analysis.

  • Also, estimated are state-level models to demonstrate how conclusions differ when using a spatial approach.

  • to investigate the association between the change in occupation-specific wages and the change in the proportion of immigrants over time.


  • the greater the increase in the proportion of immigrants in an occupation over time, the lower will be the change in the mean wage in that occupation over time after controlling for other relevant factors

  • As the demand of certain occupations rises, their wages may be driven up as well. To take these effects into account, we control for the share of occupation in the labor force as a whole.


  • d

Table 1: Descriptive Statistics

  • Mean log hourly-wage for native workers increased

  • Proportion of immigrants in the whole labor force increased from 9.8 to 13.9% over period studied.

  • Immigrant workers hourly and weekly wages increased slower than natives’

  • Immigrant workers more likely to have lower levels of education

Figure 1: State-level as unit of analysis

  • the increase in immigrants in a state, then the higher the hourly wage of native workers tends to be in that state. Statistical at .05.

Figure 2: the two-digit occupation is the unit of analysis

  • No positive association; not significant, but negative coefficient.

Table 2: results for various fixed-effects models using states as a unit of analysis

  • DV: state-specific mean log hourly-wage for native workers

  • Result: 10 percentage point increase of immigrant is associated with 2.7% increase of native’s hourly wage (positive, significant association);

  • Models 1 to 4: proportion of low-skilled immigrant and the proportion of high-skilled immigrant are positively associated with native’s wage.

  • PROBLEM: The geographic selection of immigrant seems to involve a substantial endogenous component.

  • i.e. well educated may be residing in states where the economies are booming;

  • Models 5 and 6 using 20th and 80th income percentile: These results suggest that immigrants are complementary to high-skilled native workers or that the geographic selection of immigrants is largely endogenous (or both).

Table 3: the effect of the proportion immigrant varies by their skill levels: Models 8 and 9

  • These results reveal that the impact of the proportion of low-skilled immigrants on native workers’ wage is significantly negative net of other variables, while the impact of the proportion of high-skilled immigrants is positive but non-significant.

  • Additional Testing: Although the CPS-MORG does not include information on annual earnings, we obtained occupation-specific mean annual personal earnings of native workers from the corresponding March CPS files and then merged it to our data set


  • Our estimates in Table 3 may be thought of as referring to the direct within-occupational effect of immigration on the hourly wages of native workers, but it does not indicate any indirect occupational displacement effects associated with native workers changing occupations.

Table 4: two digit occupational classification

  • provides more a long term indication of the net effect of immigration

  • 10 percentage point increase of immigrants in a broad occupation between 1994 and 2006 incurs a 3.5% hourly wage decline for natives in that occupation net of other variables.

  • Informs a bit more on Hirschman’s idea of natives being “pushed out” to lower jobs or “pushed up” to higher paying jobs (2005).

  • State analysis in Models 13 and 14 show different picture

  • Model 13 becomes insignificant but is still positive. When broken down by skill level in Model 14, a 10 percentage point increase in low-skilled immigrants in a state is associated with a 4.3% increase in native workers’ wages. This latter finding is essentially the opposite of what was found in Model 17 using two-digit occupations as the unit of analysis.

  • Similar results with one digit occupations (Model 18)

Table 5: unit of analysis refers to the combination of states, one-digit occupations, and age

  • (inserted after discussion): While future research is needed to integrate regional adjustment processes into a more complete national level model, we speculate that this more complex approach may find perhaps even larger effects of rising immigration on the wages of lesser skilled native workers.

  • The results for these models in Table 5 indicate a negative effect of the proportion immigrant among native workers who have less than a high school degree but a positive effect among native workers who have at least a bachelor’s degree.


  • If such groups are negatively affected while higher skilled groups are not, then rising immigration could contribute to a significant increase in inequality.

3 Demography Items, including Adaptation

Date: 09.14.2011

Title: Unhealthy Assimilation: Why Do Immigrants Converge to American Health Status Levels?

Author: Heather Antecol and Kelly Bedard

Source: 2006 May 337-360 Demography

Category and Keyword: Health, Immigration, Assimilation


  • Examine the “healthy immigrant effect” (HIE) over time, to find out when it converges to “unhealthy American BMI levels.

  • Document the HIE and to examine the BMI assimilation pattern of immigrants to the United States


  • The healthy immigrant effect is lost for females after 10 years of being in the US and for men it is 15 years. US Census: 32 million foreign born in US in 2000. (20 million in 1990);


  • National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS) from 1989 to 1996 (these years, since years when residence was put into survey); Age from 20 – 64 (in case obese people die earlier)

  • self-reported health indicators


  • Immigrants a burden on Medicaid (also Borjas and Hilton 1996)

  • Healthy immigrants self-select when coming to US

  • Unhealthy ones stay in country of orgin

  • Healthy ones that are economically successful stay and are healthier

Table 1: summary statistics – women by race/ethnic origin and nativity

Table 2: summary statistics – men by race/ethnic origin and nativity

  • Both tables include BMI and cohort rows

Table 3: immigrant cohort and assimilation effects for our three health measures by race, women

Table 4: Men, immigrant cohort and assimilation effects for our three health measures by race

  • Americans get less healthy over time (in all categories, but less pronounced for Blacks and Hispanics than Whites)


  • Holds for Hispanic immigrants but not Black immigrants (to Black natives)

  • White immigrants assimilate the most and Blacks the least.

  • Hispanic immigrant women increase in BMI, but live longer; Hispanic immigrant men do not assimilate with BMI, but have die earlier (seems at odds)

  • Males never fully assimilate across all races

  • White females don’t assimilate, but Hispanic females do.

Figure 1: Body Mass Index (ME: don’t see how this proves author’s point??)

Figure 2: Proportion overweight – when compared to natives, don’t see HIE decrease for immigrants. ??

3 Demography Items, including Adaptation

Date: 09.14.2011

Title: Moving Out and Not Up: Economic Outcomes in the Great Migration

Author: Suzanne Eichenlaub, Steward Tolnay and J Trent Alexander

Source: 2010 75:101 ASR

Category and Keyword: Great Migration, Migration Outcomes


  • Revise our interpretation of the economic success of migrants who left the south between 1910 and 1970.


  • Poor economic conditions in the south caused poor black people in the south to migrate to the Midwest and northeast.

  • We examine whether southerners who left the South benefited economically as a result of migration by comparing them with their counterparts who remained in Dixie

  • Encouraged migration: segregation leading to inferior schools, no political voice, even violence.

  • Migrants from south normally more educated and from the cities, not the country areas

  • Assumption of past scholars: participants in the Great Migration fared better, socially and economically, in their non-southern destinations than they would have if they had remained in the South.

  • It is possible that the economic benefits from exiting the South were neither as great, nor as universal, as the conventional view suggests.


  • public use microdata samples (PUMS) of the decennial U.S. population censuses (Ruggles et al. 2004) for 1940, 1950, 1970, and 1980.

  • Compared economic outcomes across 3 groups of southernborn males 1) S to N /W 2) S intra-regional migrants 3) sedentary south

  • 1950 and 1980 data of PUMS to estimate long term benefits of migration

  • 4 DVs: employment status, income, relative income, and occupational status

  • Key IV: Individual migration history

  • Control variables used too

Table 1: Regression Analysis of Selected Economic Characteristics for Southern-Born Males, Age 25 to 60 Years, 1940

  • Table 1 presents the findings from our analysis of all post-migration dependent variables for both blacks and whites in 1940.

  • Migrants in N no more likely to be employed than migrants in the S

  • Migrants to the W had income disadvantage than intra S and sedentary S

  • our findings indicate that, on aver- age, migrants of both races who left the South for either the North or the West between 1935 and 1940 did not benefit in terms of employment status, income, or occupational status, at least in the short run.

Table 2: Regression Analysis of Selected Economic Characteristics for Southern-Born Males, Age 25 to 60 Years, 1970

  • Table 2 presents the findings from analyses for recent migrants in 1970.

  • we again find no substantial short-term advantage for migrants who left the South compared with migrants within the South between 1965 and 1970.

Table 3: Regression Analysis of Selected Economic Characteristics for Southern-Born Black and White Males, Age 35 to 60 Years, Who Were Living in Their Current State of Residence One Year Earlier, 1950

  • Consistent with our findings for 1940, the evidence from this supplementary analysis of possible long-term benefits for inter-regional migrants points to no consistent or significant economic advantage gained by leaving the South in the mid-twentieth century. If any- thing, the results, like those for 1940, are consistent with a modest disadvantage associated with inter-regional migration versus intra-regional migration.

Table 4: Regression Analysis of Selected Economic Characteristics for Southern-Born Black and White Males, Age 35 to 60 Years, Who Were Living in Their Current State of Residence Five Years Earlier, 1980

  • Consistent with the evidence for 1950, the findings for both blacks and whites in 1980 indicate that southern males who moved to the North or the West enjoyed no long-term benefits to migration, on average, when com- pared with migrants within the South

  • The main exception to this general pattern is for black inter-regional migrants in 1950 and 1980, who earned higher incomes than individuals who moved within the South.


  • Specifically, individuals who left the South during the Great Migration, on average, fared no better than those who stayed behind; in fact, based on some criteria, they may have done worse. These somewhat surprising conclusions are true whether we consider black or white migrants, short- or long-term economic outcomes, or earlier or later stages in the Great Migration.17 It is also true whether we compare the inter-regional migrants with those who remained in the South but migrated across state lines or, in many cases, with those who were sedentary.

  • Our findings cast doubt on the widely shared assumption that southern migrants escaped poverty and penury when they left the South for the urban and industrial North and West.

  • Rational choice on migration tend to support findings that are contrary to what we found.

  • Should our evidence, which contradicts the common wisdom regarding the Great Migration, also be viewed as inconsistent with prevailing migration theory? Yes and no.

  • It will no longer be possible to rely on the simple explanation that migrants left the South because they were assured of improving their economic condition.

  • Why: The children of mi- grants benefited from access to better educational opportunities and longer school years. This was especially true for blacks and for whites who left rural areas of the South (Anderson 1988; Margo 1990). It is easy to forget, but important for our story, that black students were prevented from attending most southern universities until the 1960s.18 Black migrants to the North and the West enjoyed a less segregated society, with fewer formal restrictions on their behavior and on their access to public and private spaces. Southern blacks, unlike their northern counterparts, were largely denied a political voice until the passage of voting rights legislation in the mid-1960s.19 And, of course, levels of racially motivated violence were considerably higher in the South than in the North or the West (Pfeifer 2004). Even though the last ‘‘mass lynching’’ occurred in Walton County, Georgia in 1946, periodic lynchings and other forms of southern racial violence continued long after that (Wexler 2003).

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