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Professor Vincent Hildebrand Receives SSHRC Funds for Research on Immigrants’ Economic Success


Vincent Hildebrand of Glendon’s Economics Department has recently been awarded SSHRC funds in support of his ongoing research into economic disparities among immigrant groups. Under the title “A Cross-Country Analysis of the Nativity Gap”, Hildebrand is proposing to examine how the relative wealth position of immigrants varies over their settlement process, based on a number of variables, including their differences in income, education, family structure and geographic distribution.

Hildebrand has been doing collaborative research in related areas for several years, and has published papers on related topics in a number of learned journals. His current project continues his research collaboration with eminent economist and world authority in this field, Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, a professor of economics in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. Together they published a paper under the title “The Wealth of Mexican Americans”, in the Fall 2006 issue of the Journal of Human Resources (published by The University of Wisconsin Press, vol. XLI, Number 4). In this paper, they analyzed the sources of disparities in the relative wealth of Mexican Americans, as compared to other American groups, based on a number of factors such as larger families; younger, less-educated heads of families; and geographic concentrations.

In May 2007, The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) published a paper by a research team, including Vincent Hildebrand, Thomas Bauer, Deborah Cobb-Clark and Mathias Sinning, with the title “A Comparative Analysis of the Nativity Wealth Gap”. They were investigating the source of the gap in the relative wealth position of immigrant households in Australia, Germany and the United States.

Hildebrand’s 2007 SSHRC grant provides him with funds to continue his research for a period of two years. In his PhD dissertation, he had examined the savings behaviour in American households. After completing his doctorate, Hildebrand went on to expand his research to other countries. “I want to extend my study to include more countries”, says Hildebrand, “and to see how different systems of research arrive at different outcomes.” He also plans to document factors which have not been studied extensively to date, primarily owing to a lack of available data. Statistics Canada’s recent publication of more detailed relevant data makes it possible now to examine this topic within more accurate parameters.

“Although a great deal of economics literature is available about the change of wealth position of immigrants as they settle in their new country, not much work has been done on how the relative wealth position of foreign-born individuals varies over the settlement process itself”, says Hildebrand. Based on his work so far, wealth is an important measurement of immigrants’ successful integration and therefore a crucial subject for examination. “Learning more about the source of any nativity wealth gap allows us to draw more sharply defined policy conclusions and will be important in reformulating immigration policies”, adds Hildebrand.

Hildebrand’s current SSHRC grant is not only a benefit to his own scholarly work. The money will enable him to employ several undergraduate students at Glendon as his research assistants. “Doing research is a rare opportunity at the undergraduate level,” adds Hildebrand. “Not only does it allow these students to immerse themselves in an academic activity beyond the classroom experience. It also enables them to acquire research methodology, which will serve them well in their future scholarly activities.”

More about research at Glendon:
Vincent Hildebrand’s SSHRC research grant is one in a series of recent research awards for Glendon professors, underlining the vibrant ongoing research activity on the Glendon campus. Other recent reports on Glendon research include Professor Suzanne Langlois’ work on Examining the Role of Cinema in Shaping Public Opinion, in the May 14, 2007 issue of Y File ; and Professor Evelyne Corcos’ research on Cartoons and Short Films as Tools for Changing Behaviour Patterns, as reported in the April 4, 2007 issue of Y File.

More about Vincent Hildebrand:
Vincent Hildebrand is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Glendon. He holds a BA from Paris IX-Dauphine; an MA and PhD from York University (Toronto). He teaches in both English and French, specializing in labour economics, microeconometrics, public finance and immigration.

This article was submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny

Published on May 28, 2007