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The economics of immigration: Household and employment dynamics

Maliha Safri, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Deploying a surplus-labor theoretical framework, I incorporate results from interviews with South Asian families in Chicago to investigate how immigrants juggle and assume a variety of revenue positions: in nuclear and extended families, as full-time wage earners, as home-based independent producers, in retail stores, in 'family councils,' etc. Family councils will be defines as an important institution inside immigrant households in which potentially all family members partake, making a series of financial and non-financial decisions that affect all the class and nonclass processes in which household members participate. In addition, the chapter on the household also explores a class analysis of extended families, a particularly important institution for US-bound immigrants since the majority of contemporary entrants arrive on family reunification visas. By examining how immigrants actively seek out multiple revenue positions, not only does this thesis map their survival strategies but also emphasizes changes in the acceptable living standard and more specifically the private value of labor power as reasons why immigrants take on new economic positions. This thesis examines the evolution of the immigrant's private value of labor power, and the many effects generated for immigrant-employing capitalists, non-immigrant-employing capitalists, immigrant households, and non-immigrant consumers of commodities produced by immigrants, and, of course, for immigrants themselves.

Subject Area

Labor economics|Cultural anthropology|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Safri, Maliha, "The economics of immigration: Household and employment dynamics" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3215891.