Asians in the United States Labor Market: ‘Winners’ or ‘Losers’ ? (Management Project)

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This study examines employment, earnings, and income of the six major foreign and native born Asian groups, namely, Asian Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, and the Vietnamese for the year 2000. The study makes three contributions. First, it provides an updated analysis of employment and earning attainments of Asian individuals disaggregated by countries of origin, gender, and nativity status using the latest available and most suitable data.

Second, it explores the use of a non-parametric technique, namely reweighting, to assess the Asian -white earning gaps. Third, it analyzes intergroup variations in household income, inclination to pool resources, and factors associated with the likelihood of forming nuclear living arrangements. Descriptive statistics document high average levels of employment, earnings, and human capital attainments for Asians relative to whites with notable subgroup differences. The multivariate and reweighting analyses show that foreign born Asians experience greater disadvantage relative to whites than the native born Asians.

The gender comparisons indicate that being native relative to being foreign born is more beneficial for Asian women than men, with native born Asian women experiencing higher earnings than white women. Additionally, there is evidence of a ‘glass ceiling’ among Asian men. At the household level, the descriptive associations show the relative economic position of Asian households depends on the specific measure of household income employed. Asian households experience similar or higher levels of total household income and income per labor hour employed but lower levels of per capita income than white households. Also, a higher inclination to pool resources among the foreign compared to the native born Asian and white households is seen.

Intergroup comparisons indicate foreign born Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese households having a greater tendency to pool resources than the foreign born Indians and the Japanese. Multivariate analyses show a positive relationship between the householder’s earnings, education, and length of stay and the likelihood of forming nuclear relative to nonnuclear households. The overall findings from this study suggest that – at both the individual and household levels, the differences between the foreign and the native born Asians are more significant than the intergroup variations among Asians.
Source: University of Maryland
Author: Kulkarni, Veena S.

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