Immigrant entry earnings over the past quarter-century: The roles of changing characteristics and returns to skills

  • Feng Hou University of Alberta
Keywords: Immigrants, entry earnings, decomposition, Canada


This study examines whether factors associated with the rise in the Canadian-born – recent immigrant earnings gap played different roles in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. The results show that for recent immigrant men, shifts in population characteristics had the most important effect in the 1980s, when the earnings gap expanded the most, but this compositional effect diminished in the 1990s and early 2000s. The effect of changes in returns to Canadian experience and education was small for men in all three periods. During the early 2000s, the IT bust, combined with a heavy concentration of immigrants in IT-related occupations, was the primary explanation of the increase in their earnings gap.