Technological change, globalization, and the increasing mobility of workers have shaped the landscape of the labor market in recent decades. Immigrants now play an important role in certain jobs and occupations. Specific immigrant groups dominate jobs requiring low levels of schooling, such as agricultural work, construction work, and food preparation, while others dominate jobs requiring high levels of schooling, such as IT specialties, mathematics, and engineering. Immigrant involvements in labor market niches come with costs and benefits, not merely to the laborers, but to the overall economy.
Sociologist Susan Eckstein and economist Giovanni Peri will organize a symposium and co-edit an upcoming issue of the RSF Journal that explores the determinants and consequences of distinctive immigrant groups dominating specific sectors of the labor market. The issue will analyze the attributes of immigrant groups that account for their labor market specializations; study whether immigrants creating new labor market activity versus taking over activity previously performed by native-born workers or earlier immigrant groups; and explore how government policies, both in the U.S. and in immigrant homelands, have influenced immigrant group involvement in particular niches.