Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 314 pages) : illustrations, maps

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Zai Liang

Committee Members

Richard D Alba, Nancy A Denton


Chinese immigrant, comparative research, ethnic economy, immigrant integration, labor market, Mexican immigrant, Chinese Americans, Chinese, Immigrants, Mexican Americans, Mexicans

Subject Categories

Asian American Studies | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Latin American Studies


This dissertation research is a comparative study of the economic incorporation of the unskilled Chinese and Mexican immigrants in the United States. This comparative approach is justified by the fact that these two groups share striking similarities in human capital, social networks, and immigrant flow patterns, whereas they also differ significantly in their migration cost, transnational practice, and reception in the U.S. labor market. This research investigates three specific aspects of their labor market experience: participation in self-employment, job transition, and earnings growth. Essentially I hope to find out whether these immigrants can achieve economic mobility over time and in what forms. To explain the variation in immigrants' labor market performance, I examine the effects of a series of factors, including assimilation, transnationalism, and other factors pertaining to the contexts of exit and reception. One particular point of inquiry is immigrants' job placement in nontraditional destination areas and the economic consequences associated with that movement.