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In the U.S., science and engineering (S&E) attracts a large proportion of Asian workers, and a majority of them are foreign-born. Among the foreign-born, a small proportion but a considerable number of them are foreign-degreed. However, not much attention in sociology has been paid to the foreign-degreed yet. This study examines the effect of degree origin on the salaries of full-time, college-educated Asian immigrant computer scientists in the U.S. This study employs a sample of 2,522 observations derived from the 1993 and 2003 National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG) conducted by the National Science Foundation. Results from multivariate regressions show that degree origin had a statistically significant effect in 1993 but not in 2003. The negative effect of the highest degree from an Asian institution in 1993 can be attributed to the perceived lower quality of education in Asia and the choice that Asian-degreed computer scientists made. The disappearance of this effect in 2003 may be explained by the improvement in the quality of education in Asia and an increase in the demand for computer scientists in the U.S. between 1993 and 2003.
Date of Conference: 2-3 Oct. 2009