A liability of embeddedness? Ethnic social capital, job search, and earnings penalty among female immigrants

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Abstract

Evidence concerning the relationship between ethnic social networks and labor market outcomes is mixed. Some studies indicate that immigrants with more social capital benefit in terms of formal-sector employment, higher occupational status, and greater earnings. Others argue that embeddedness in and reliance on ethnic networks can hamper economic incorporation in the host society. Using multilevel analysis of population-level data, this study examines the association between using a personal contact in the job search and monthly earnings among immigrant women (foreign-born spouses) in Korea. Findings show that, at the individual level, the use of personal contact, both weak and strong ties, is related to lower income. At the contextual level, residing in a community characterized by denser informal interaction among immigrant members is also associated with lower income. Finally, the negative relationship between informal job search and earnings is stronger in a community with more aggregate ethnic social capital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-411
Number of pages27
JournalEthnicities
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Ethnic social capital
  • immigrant adaptation
  • informal job search
  • strong tie
  • weak tie

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