August 29, 2006

New York, NY — A new study, forthcoming in the Spring 2007 issue of Journal of Human Resources, finds that earnings of Arab and Muslim men fell 10 percent subsequent to the September 11th 2001 terrorists’ attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

The study, led by Dr. Neeraj Kaushal, Assistant Professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work, further finds that the decline in earnings was 12 to 13 percent in areas with more than median hate crime motivated by religious, ethnicity or national origin bias. In contrast, in areas with less than the median hate crime level the decline in earnings was less than half — about 6 to 7 percent.

“The association is striking,” said Dr. Kaushal, commenting on the link between decline in earnings and the hate crime index. The study is based on a sample of 4,322 first- and second-generation immigrants from countries with predominantly Arab or Muslim populations. It covers 20 states where 85% of Arab and Muslim U.S. residents live and the men covered in the study are aged 21 to 54 years old.

“In the post-September 11th period we find that Arab and Muslim men worked as many hours as before, but they were more likely to have switched from a job in a high- to low-wage industry,” said Dr. Kaushal.

According to the study the adverse earnings effects of September 11th were temporary, as data from the most recent period available (2005) indicates a significant rebound in wages and earnings for Arab and Muslim men. The study also indicated that increased ethnic or religious prejudice also resulted in a decline in intra-state migration. September 11th may have raised the cost of moving because of uncertainty about reception at new destinations.

Dr. Kaushal’s collaborators in the study are Robert Kaestner, Professor at University of Illinois in Chicago and Cordelia Reimers, Professor at Hunter College, the City University of New York. The study uses data from the Current Population Surveys 1997-2005 and data on FBI hate crime incidents motivated by religious, ethnicity or national origin bias for 1997-2004. The study received partial funding from Russell Sage Foundation.

For more information or to arrange for an interview, please Jeannie Yip at 212-851-2327 or jy2223@columbia.edu.

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