In this thesis, I compared income, consumption, savings, dwelling ownership and equity between immigrant families and Canadian born families. I studied the families' consumption behaviour and labour supply under credit constraint.
In the first chapter of this thesis, the income, consumption and savings behaviour of immigrant and Canadian-born households are analysed using data from the Family Expenditure Surveys (FAMEX) of Statistics Canada. Immigrant households have significantly lower income and consumption levels compared to Canadian-born households. Savings are generally found to be
similar between immigrant and Canadian-born households. There are no clear differences in the saving rates between immigrant and Canadian-born households. There are no significant changes in income, savings, or changes in assets as immigrants stay longer in Canada.
The second chapter of this thesis analyses an intertemporal labor supply model for immigrant families allowing for the possibility of credit constraints. The results indicate that recent cohorts of married immigrant women work longer hours than earlier arrival cohorts and Canadian-born wives. The immigrant families are more likely
to be credit constrained. The credit constraint is important for immigrant families food consumption behavior.
The final chapter of this thesis analyzes the differences in home ownership and housing equity between immigrant and Canadian-born households, using data from FAMEX and SFS. Recent immigrant households are less likely to own their dwelling and hold less equity in owned dwellings than do Canadian-born households.
The probability of owning a dwelling and the equity held in the dwelling grow quickly with years-since-migration. The more recent arrival cohorts are much less likely to
own their dwelling and this is consistent with the findings of very low incomes for these cohorts in the immigrant earnings literature. However, among immigrant households who own their dwellings, housing equity is in fact higher for the more recent arrival cohorts. These differences disappear once the home equity model is extended to include the sample of households that rent their dwelling (assigning them a value of zero for their housing equity). The findings are consistent with there being large barriers to access to credit for immigrant households from the recent arrival cohorts.