May 2012

IZA DP No. 6578: The Wage Premium of Foreign Education: New Evidence from Australia

published in Australian Economic Review, 2013, 46(4), 395-404

We study whether Australian employers recognise immigrants' education acquired abroad, and if so how. Using data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Immigrants in Australia, we apply interval regression to model migrant hourly earnings. We find substantially higher returns from human capital obtained in Australia and other OECD countries compared with non-OECD countries. These results suggest that the transfer of human capital acquired abroad is mediated by the country in which it was acquired, as found for Israel (Friedberg (2000) and the US (Bratsberg and Ragan (2002)). The results also suggest that immigrants from non-OECD countries are the ones who can gain the most from obtaining further education in Australia, and that targeted rather than generic policies in this area could reduce the extent of the education-occupation mismatch amongst immigrants.