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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Human Capital Endowments of the Mexican Worker in the U.S. Labor Market
Alonzo, Guadalupe Maria.
REPORT 1999 A172 Public Affairs Library

The influx of immigrants from Mexico has caused increased concern over how the U.S. will absorb these workers into the domestic labor market and economy. These concerns stem, in part, from the lower human capital endowments of the Mexican cohort, relative to other foreign-born groups and natives. These human capital characteristics include lower educational attainment, limited English proficiency and less relevant work experience. However, there are also other factors, such as legal status, age, length of U.S. residence, marriage and fertility rates, Official English laws, and discrimination against the foreign-born, which can limit their participation in the labor force. Since the rate of migration northward from Mexico is not expected to decrease in the near future and the worker human capital levels are not likely to be significantly altered, I argue that the federal government should play a role in integrating the newcomers into the labor market. With the debates over how the government should allocate funds from the federal budget surplus, a portion of those funds should be used to provide programs that enable Mexican workers to participate in the labor market to their fullest potential. These programs include the encouragement of citizenship for legal permanent residents, job training programs and classes to increase English proficiency. By adopting and implementing proactive measures to facilitate their integration in the labor market and economy, Mexican immigrants and the U.S. overall economy benefit as a whole.


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