Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Professor Roderic Beaujot and Professor Teresa Abada



The labor market outcomes of immigrants have been a primary focus of the research to comprehend the integration of immigrants inCanada. The focus of the research is largely on human capital approaches for the investigation of the earnings of immigrants. This thesis takes a distinct approach in three ways: first, unlike traditional research that compares the earnings of immigrants with native born of the same ethnic/racial groups or with white native born population, the dissertation compares the earnings of visible minority immigrants with non-visible minority immigrants. Comparing across foreign born populations is important to neutralize the impact of exposure to the social institutions of the host society. Second, instead of treating South Asians as a homogenous group, the focus the present research is on the economic performance of various South Asian sub-groups. This approach is useful to understand the inter group difference. Third, this research considers both human and social capital perspectives to understand the labour market performance of visible minority immigrants inCanada. The overall purpose of the research is to determine the impact of both human and social capital on the labour market performance of the visible minority immigrants. The analysis seeks to determine the extent to which different visible minority groups and South Asian sub-groups differ in terms of their earnings, after the adjustment of various human and social capital factors.

The thesis begins with a comparison between visible minority immigrants and non-visible minority immigrants, and then moves on to investigate particularly the earnings of specific South Asian sub-groups in comparison to European immigrants. The three analytic chapters demonstrate not only an earnings gap between visible minority immigrants in comparison to non-visible minority immigrants, but also earnings differences among South Asians in comparison to Europeans. In terms of period of residency, a longer period of stay inCanadahas a positive impact on the earnings, but this impact is not equal across different visible minority groups. Although social capital have an impact on the earnings differences, the human capital factors have the largest impact. The study applies Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression models to analyze data from the 2002 Ethnic Diversity Survey (EDS) and the 2006 Census.

Based on the 2002 EDS, the second chapter determines the impact of human and social capital on the labour market outcomes of visible minority immigrants. In particular, this chapter asks to what extent bonding and bridging social capital are useful to improve the economic conditions of non-white immigrants. The findings show that controlling for human and social capital variables reduces the earnings disadvantage associated with visible minority status, but the gap remains significant for all but Chinese. In terms of social capital, individualization (weak ties) in comparison to integration (strong ties) was associated with higher income, for men and for the category of other/multiple visible minorities, and for white immigrants.

Chapter three analyzes the earnings of different cohorts of visible minority immigrants arrived inCanadaat different points of time. The findings show that bridging associational participation remains significant except, except for the 1982-91 arrivals. The earnings of South Asian immigrant men with a longer period of residency exceed the earnings of non-visible immigrant of the same period, while the Chinese are no longer statistically different from the reference group. Bridging associational participation is not significant for the earnings of women immigrants. The non-significance of bonding and bridging social capital for those who arrived in the period 1982-91 suggests that social capital is not useful in periods of economic downturn, while human capital remains significant during such periods.

Key words: Visible minorities, South Asians, Human capital, Social capital, Bonding and bridging social capital