Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 849–882 | Cite as

A comparative analysis of immigrant skills and their utilization in Australia, Canada, and the USA

  • Andrew ClarkeEmail author
  • Mikal Skuterud
Original Paper


We compare literacy test scores and their impact on wage and employment outcomes of Australian, Canadian, and the US immigrants. Overall, we find little to distinguish the skills of immigrants to these three countries, although there is some indication of gains at the lower end of the distribution among Australian immigrants arriving after the mid-1990s. Relative immigrant wage returns to literacy are, however, substantially higher in the USA, which we argue reflects language-skill complementarities, as opposed to more efficient skill utilization or unobserved productivity characteristics.


Immigrant workers Labour market integration Immigrant selection policy 

JEL Classifications

J61 J31 J23 



This paper was completed while Andrew Clarke was a visiting scholar in the Office of Population Research, Princeton University. Their hospitality, and in particular the generous hospitality of Marta Tienda, is gratefully acknowledged. Mikal Skuterud acknowledges financial support from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (No. 410-2011-0281). We thank the Editor of this journal and two anonymous referees for their numerous helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MelbourneCarltonAustralia
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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