Re-conceptualizing the economic incorporation of immigrants: A comparison of the Mexican and Vietnamese
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Using data from the 2000 5 per cent Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, this article advocates three shifts in our theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding immigrant economic incorporation. First, through a comparison of Mexican and Vietnamese immigrants, these findings highlight the importance of an immigrant population's relationship to the state for economic outcomes, and cautions against analyses that aggregate the foreign-born population. Second, through a joint analysis of unemployment and poverty outcomes, these findings call for researchers to be specific about the varied aspects of “economic incorporation” and distinguish between factors that drive labor market access, and those that foster material well-being. Lastly, by examining three state economic, demographic and policy variables, this article promotes an approach that takes human capital into account, while also heeding the immigrant context of reception.
Keywordsimmigrant economic incorporation state policy documentation status
This research was supported in part with generous funding from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship and the University of California Labor Employment and Research Fund. Many thanks go to Samuel Lucas, Irene Bloemraad, Michael Hout and Claude Fischer, as well as the UC Berkeley Dissertation Workshop and Interdisciplinary Immigration Workshop for additional feedback. I also thank the anonymous reviewers for Latino Studies for their many insightful suggestions.
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