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The Transition from School to Work for Children of Immigrants with Lower-Level Educational Credentials in the United States and France

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This paper compares the transition from school to work among Mexican-origin youth in the United States and North African-origin youth in France relative to the native-majority youth with similar low-level credentials. The goal is to understand the extent to which these groups experience ethnic penalties in the labor market not explained by social class, low-level credentials, or other characteristics. The patterns of employment for second-generation minorities play out differently in the two contexts. In France, lack of access to jobs is a source of disadvantage for North African children of immigrants, while in the united States, second-generation Mexicans do not suffer from a lack of employment. Indeed, the Mexican second-generation shows a uniquely high level of employment. We argue that high levels of youth unemployment in the society, as is the case in France, means greater ethnic penalties for second-generation minorities.


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Correspondence to Amy Lutz.

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  • second generation
  • children of immigrants
  • Mexicans
  • North Africans
  • Labor market
  • employment