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Title:The impact of human capital and social capital on employment conditions of immigrants in the United States: an examination of gender and racial/ethnic differences
Author(s):Byoun, Soo Jung
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Zhan, Min
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Wu, Chi-Fang; Piedra, Lissette M.; Viruell-Fuentes, Edna
Department / Program:School of Social Work
Discipline:Social Work
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Immigrant human capital and social capital
Employment Conditions of Immigrants
Gender Differences
Racial/ethnic differences
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of human capital and social capital on the employment conditions of immigrants (i.e., employment status, occupational status, part- time/full-time status) in the United States. The current research addressed the following hypotheses: human capital and social capital are associated with 1) employment status; 2) occupational status; 3) part-time/full-time status of immigrants. Furthermore, this study examined the moderating effects of gender and race/ethnicity on the associations between human capital and social capital, and the employment conditions of immigrants. I hypothesized that the relationships of human capital and social capital with employment status; occupational status; part-time/full-time status of immigrants vary by a) gender and b) race/ethnicity. To address these hypotheses, secondary data analysis was conducted, using the first round of the New Immigrant Survey 2003. The sample was drawn from the adult dataset, which included immigrants who were admitted to the status of lawful permanent resident. Multinomial logistic regression models and binary logistic regressions models were estimated to address the hypotheses. To test the moderating effects, subgroup analyses were conducted. Findings from the study indicated that immigrants who had working experiences abroad and in the U.S. were more likely to be employed by others and self-employed rather than be unemployed. English language skills and health were positively related, but occupational status in the foreign job and having a U.S.-born spouse were negatively related to being employed by others. U.S. education was negatively related to the opportunity of being self-employed. Regarding occupational status, immigrants’ foreign education, previous occupational statuses both abroad and in the U.S., and English skills were positively related, while work experience in the U.S. was negatively related to current occupational status. Social group membership was positively related to current occupational status, but the number of times participating in religious meetings was negatively related to current occupational status. Regarding part- time/full-time status, immigrants who had higher occupational status and more years of U.S. education were less likely to have full-time status rather than part-time status. Having work experience in the U.S. and good/excellent health conditions were positively related to immigrants’ full-time status. In the subgroup analyses by gender, foreign work experience and good/excellent health were positively correlated, but occupational status in the foreign job was negatively associated with being employed for both female and male groups. Females who had working experience in the U.S. and high English skills were more likely to be employed, but male immigrants who had more years of education in the U.S. were less likely to be employed. Females who had U.S.-born spouses were less likely to be employed. Education and previous occupational statuses both abroad and in the U.S. as well as English skills were positively associated with higher occupational status for both females and males. However, work experience in the U.S., social group membership, and number of religious participation were only associated with males’ occupational status. In analyses of part-time/full-time status, U.S. education and health conditions were significant factors for male immigrants, but work experience in the U.S. was a significant predictor for females. In race/ethnicity subgroup analyses, foreign work experience was significant for Asian and Hispanic groups for employment status. U.S. education was negatively related to being employed of Blacks and work experience in the U.S. was positively related to being employed of Hispanic immigrants. Previous occupational status of the first job in the U.S. was negatively associated with being employed of Hispanics, but positively related to Whites’ employment status. English was a significant predictor for Asians only, and health was important to be employed for Asians and Whites. A few social capital variables including U.S.-born spouse, social group membership, and ethnic-tie in religious meetings were negatively associated with being employed for Asian, Hispanic, and Black groups. Regarding occupational status, education received both abroad and in the U.S., and occupational status of the first job in the U.S. were significant predictors in all four groups. However, foreign work experience was negatively associated with Whites’ occupational status, and previous occupational status in the foreign job was positively related to Asians’ and Whites’ current occupational status. Work experience in the U.S. was negatively associated with Hispanics’ occupational status, and English skills were important for all groups’ occupational status except Blacks. Weak-tie based social capital was significant for Black and White immigrants’ occupational status. Finally, occupational status in the foreign job and having a U.S.-born spouse were negatively related to the part-time/full-time status of Asians, but English skills were positively related to Hispanics’ part-time/full-time status. Findings from the current study have implications for practice, policy, and research. Based on the findings, suggestions are made to help develop effective programs and policies to improve the employment conditions of immigrants. Further suggestions are made to help develop and improve gender- and race/ethnicity-specific programs and policies, which in turn, enhance their well-being, and benefit society.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/46642
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Soo Jung Byoun
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12


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