Human Capital versus Social Capital A Comparative Analysis of Immigrant Wages and Labor Market Incorporation in Japan and the United States

Wayne A. Cornelius, Takeyuki Tsuda, Zulema Valdez

Resumen

Abstract

For the United States, the most commonly used model of immigrant labor-market incorporation
analyzes earnings largely as a function of human-capital variables. However,
this simple model is not necessarily applicable cross-culturally and may lose much of its
explanatory power in other societies, where immigrants encounter different labor-market
conditions. This article evaluates multivariate models of wage determination for
samples of foreign workers interviewed in 1996 in San Diego County, California, and
the Japanese industrial city of Hamamatsu. In contrast to San Diego, the standard measures
of human capital do not significantly influence immigrant wages in Hamamatsu.
Instead, social capital has a much greater impact on immigrant wages in Japan than in
the United States. Ethnographic research conducted at both sites suggests explanations
for these divergent results and illustrates the importance of reception contexts (host societies)
in determining labor-market outcomes for immigrant workers.


RESUMEN


El modelo de incorporación de inmigrantes al mercado de trabajo más comúnmente usado
en los Estados Unidos analiza en gran medida los ingresos como una función de variables
de capital humano. Sin embargo, este modelo no es necesariamente aplicable a diferentes
culturas y puede perder mucho de su poder explicativo en sociedades donde los inmigrantes
se enfrentan a diferentes condiciones del mercado laboral. Este artículo evalúa modelos
multivariados para la determinación de salarios usando como muestra a trabajadores
inmigrantes, entrevistados en 1996 en el condado de San Diego, California, y en la ciudad
industrial japonesa de Hamamatsu. En contraste con San Diego, las medidas estándar de
capital humano no influyen significativamente en los salarios de inmigrantes en Hamamatsu.
Por su parte, el capital social tiene mucho más impacto en los salarios de los trabajadores
inmigrantes en Japón que en los Estados Unidos. La investigación etnográfica realizada en
los dos lugares sugiere explicaciones para estos resultados divergentes e ilustra la importancia
de los contextos de recepción (sociedades receptoras) para determinar los escenarios del
mercado de trabajo para trabajadores inmigrantes.

Keywords: international migration; social capital; wage determination; United States; Japan



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Fecha de recepción: 25 de marzo de 2002

Fecha de aceptación: 10 de de junio 2003



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