Is STEM education portable? Country of education and the economic integration of STEM immigrants
Authors: Monica Boyd and Siyue Tian
The core question in this research asks what are the occupational and earnings consequences of place of education for immigrants with bachelor’s degrees or higher and whose highest degrees are in STEM fields compared to the native born. The focus is on immigrants with degrees in 15 countries which represent 88% of the immigration population of interest. In the analysis of the Canadian 2011 National Household Survey, STEM education is matched to three occupational outcomes: employment in STEM occupations, employment in other occupations usually requiring university bachelors’ degrees or higher, and employment in all other occupations which usually require less than university education. The Canadian-born and permanent legal residents whose highest degrees in STEM fields are from institutions in Canada, the USA, the UK, and in the case of the foreign born, France, are more likely to be employed in either STEM occupations or high-skilled occupations requiring bachelors’ degrees than are immigrants educated elsewhere; the latter are more likely to be employed in occupations that are not STEM related and usually do not require bachelor’s degrees. Immigrant disadvantages are stronger for earnings; regardless of the location of their STEM education, immigrants earn less than the Canadian born who received university degrees in Canada. However, the size of the gap varies by the country of the highest degree with the largest gaps, relative to the Canadian born and Canadian educated, observed for immigrants who are educated in countries other than Canada, the USA, the UK, and France.
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