Are Asian Americans Disadvantaged by Residing More in the West? Migration, Region, and Earnings among Asian American Men


In studying labor market inequality of Asian Americans, the role of region and migration remain key factors that have not been much taken into account in the prior research. Using the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG), this study examines whether native-born and 1.5-generation Asian Americans are more likely than whites to reside in the West. We also investigate whether native-born and 1.5-generation Asian Americans have higher earnings than whites when broken down by West versus non-West. In addition to an OLS regression model, a switching regression model is used in order to account the possibility of sample selectivity between wages and region among men who are observed to reside in the West and in the non-West. This study can therefore ask, net of demographic and socioeconomic factors and selectivity, if there is no differential in earnings between Asian Americans and whites in the West, as well as in the non-West. The results of this study indicate that Asian Americans are more likely than whites to currently reside in the West, regardless of age category and nativity. This study also finds that Asian American men do not face a substantial disadvantage in the US labor market, net of demographic and class factors. Finally, switching regression models demonstrate that both younger native-born and younger 1.5-generation Asian Americans in the West and 1.5-generation Asian Americans in the non-West have significantly higher average earnings than whites, after further controlling for selectivity. This indicates that the estimated earnings differentials for younger Asian Americans and whites are obscured when using OLS, which does not account for selectivity. In regard to selectivity, there is a positive selection into living in the West, while the selection is negative living into the non-West.

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Takei, I. , Sakamoto, A. & Powers, D. (2012). Are Asian Americans Disadvantaged by Residing More in the West? Migration, Region, and Earnings among Asian American Men. Sociology Mind, 2, 158-168. doi: 10.4236/sm.2012.22021.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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