Has the Mainstream Been Remade? Mexican Origin Workers in the New Economy

Renee Reichl, University of California, Los Angeles
Roger Waldinger, University of California, Los Angeles

This paper examines the labor market integration of Mexican origin workers by exploring inter-ethnic differences in standard versus non-standard jobs, including wage and salaried work on a temporary or part-time basis or on the payroll of an intermediary, as well as self-employment. We compare first, second, and third-generation-plus Mexican Americans to whites and African-Americans of the third generation or beyond, and find that non-standard work is actually more common among third generation whites than among minorities. However, while whites engaged in non-standard work are disproportionately likely to be self-employed, an activity associated with higher levels of education and experience, other groups are likely to be wage and salaried workers employed in non-standard jobs into which less-skilled, less experienced workers get sorted. While non-standard jobs compare unfavorably with standard jobs across all types of compensation examined, the net effect of greater minority reliance on non-standard work on inter-ethnic differences in compensation is slight.

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Presented in Session 138: Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Force