Labor market penalties for foreign degrees among college educated immigrants
Are college degrees earned abroad worth less in the American economy than degrees earned in the United States? Do the labor market penalties associated with holding a foreign degree vary as a function of the country or region in which it was earned? Do these processes differ for men and women? We use data on 18,361 college-educated immigrants from the National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) to address these questions. Female immigrants with foreign degrees are less likely to be employed than immigrant women who earned their degrees in the US. When employed, both female and male immigrants with foreign degrees are less likely to work in a job related to their highest college degree. Among employed female immigrants, the wage returns to foreign degrees are about 17% less than for US degrees; among male immigrants, this figure is about 11%. For both female and male immigrants, the labor market penalties associated with holding a foreign degree vary as a function of the region from which the foreign degree was obtained.