Congratulations to Alice Hoe who completed her dissertation and has recently begun a new post as a Postdoctoral Visitor at York University. Alice’s dissertation was called Working in ‘Bad Jobs’: Immigrants in the New Canadian Economy. She conducted her research under the supervision of Professor Monica Boyd, with her full committee including Professors Cynthia Cranford and Melissa Milkie. The dissertation abstract follows.
Beginning in the late 1960s, the Canadian economy experienced two significant changes: the growth of immigrants from non-traditional source regions and major economic restructuring. The work transformation significantly undermined the quality of work, leading to a growing number of ‘bad jobs’, characterized by low wages, lack of fringe benefits, and declining union coverage. The literature on work transformation, however, relies primarily on macro-level theorizing, and pays less attention to how new forms of inequality emerge from these changes. Alternatively, studies on immigrants’ economic integration tend to rely on single-dimension, orthodox indicators of economic outcomes, such as earnings, and many do not incorporate the context of the new economy. Among the studies that do, the use of small samples and qualitative measures limit the ability to identify patterns of inequality. My dissertation fills this gap in the literature by bringing together these two intricately intertwined, yet disparate sets of literature. I analyze how immigrants in Canada are disproportionately affected by the presence of ‘bad jobs’ in the new economy. I study immigrants’ disadvantage on three levels, in three independent papers: 1) likelihood of engaging in ‘bad jobs’, 2) differential long-term outcomes of engaging in ‘bad jobs’, and 3) household-level inequalities based on job quality and nativity status of the household head. I analyze the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, using both cross-sectional and panel data, as well as household-data, which I constructed from cross-sectional individual files. I find that immigrants experience significant disadvantage in the new Canadian economy: they are more likely to work in ‘bad jobs’ and stay in ‘bad jobs’ than the Canadian-born. These individual-level inequalities also translate to household-level inequalities in terms of likelihood of living low-income. The results from this dissertation draw attention to stratification within the new economy and incorporates the context of the new economy into the study of immigrant integration.
For her post-doctoral visitorship, Alice is working for a research partnership called ‘Closing the Employment Standards Enforcement Gap” (website: http://closeesgap.ca/) under the direction of Professor Leah F. Vosko, Canada Research Chair in the Political Economy of Gender & Work, Political Science, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. There, she is analyzing administrative and survey data and may also later be involved in constructing a cross-national research database on employment standards.