Other Research

Ongoing Projects

Do new migrant destinations benefit from diversity? Past research has shown that cultural diversity in the workplace has both positive and negative effects–it can foster innovation, but also foment conflict.  In this project, I ask how the positive and negative consequences of diversity vary by organizational or national context. Specifically, I examine how workplace composition affects outcomes such as innovation and interpersonal tensions in countries with high (e.g. United States, Australia), medium (e.g. Germany, France), and low (e.g. South Korea, Japan) levels of migration. This collaborative project with Hiroshi Ono has received funding from the BEST Alliance and from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Completed Research

graphEmployment institutions and economic integration of skilled migrants: Scholars argue that institutional arrangements—in law and policy, in education, in the labor market, and in social attitudes and norms—play a key role in migrants’ successful or unsuccessful economic integration. And yet, few studies directly investigate the effects of institutions on integration. This project, a collaboration with Kikuko Nagayoshi, draws on employer-employee data from Japan to provide some of the first empirical evidence that institutions do matter to economic integration. A paper based on this research is forthcoming from International Migration Review.

Barriers and doors to skilled migrant settlement: Skilled migrants are some of the most mobile people on earth. What causes them to settle or to move on?  Using the qualitative data from Sweden and Japan, which have open migration policies towards skilled foreign workers, but have been unable to attract or retain large numbers of these migrants, Sayaka Törngren and I examine the economic and social factors that shape skilled foreign workers’ migration decisions. This research has been published in the International Journal of Japanese Sociology.

Figure 3Who receives job search assistance from friends and acquaintances? My masters’ thesis investigated the role of culture and norms in determining who has access to job search assistance. Building on recent research showing that network alters are not necessarily willing to assist job seekers, I provide evidence that alters’ decisions have a significant impact on outcomes for job seekers, even after adjustments for network structure. This research appeared in Work and Occupations in 2015.

DaedalusAssimilation and the law: In contrast to earlier waves of immigration, the post–1965 Asian immigration to the United States has not spawned an exclusionist backlash among native whites. Rather, the new Asian immigrants and their children are rapidly gaining access to the American mainstream.  In a 2013 article in Daedalus, Victor Nee and I discuss the role of immigration and employment law in facilitating this successful pattern of integration.