Getting ahead in the capitalist paradise: Migration from China and socioeconomic attainment in colonial Hong Kong

Wing Kai Stephen CHIU, Susanne Y. P. CHOI, Kwok-fai TING

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Abstract

This article examines the initial labor market outcome and the subsequent mobility process of Chinese immigrants in Colonial Hong Kong using complete work history data and event history modeling. Contrary to the rhetoric that Hong Kong is a capitalist paradise for adventurers, the data showed that immigrants were penalized in their initial class placement, subsequent mobility, and current income attainment. Differences in educational attainment and the lack of transferability of pre-migration human capital partly explained the attainment gap between immigrants and the natives. Yet the disadvantage of immigrants was also embedded in the local economic structure. The process of deindustrialization significantly lowered the chance of immigrants getting good first jobs when entering the labor market. Moreover, since deindustrialization benefited the natives by providing them with more opportunities in the service sector, it inadvertently widened the gap in upward mobility chances between natives and immigrants. Copyright © 2005 by the Center for Migration Studies of New York. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-227
JournalInternational Migration Review
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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Citation

Chiu, S. W. K., Choi, S. Y. P., & Ting, K.-F. (2005). Getting ahead in the capitalist paradise: Migration from China and socioeconomic attainment in colonial Hong Kong. International Migration Review, 39(1), 203-227. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2005.tb00260.x