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The Diffusion of Mexican Immigrants During the 1990s: Explanations and Impacts

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  • David Card

    ()
    (Department of Economics, UC Berkeley and NBER)

  • Ethan Lewis

    ()
    (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)

Abstract

Mexican immigrants were historically clustered in a few cities, mainly in California and Texas. During the past 15 years, however, arrivals from Mexico established sizeable immigrant communities in many "new" cities. We explore the causes and consequences of the widening geographic diffusion of Mexican immigrants. A combination of demand-pull and supply push factors explains most of the inter-city variation in inflows of Mexican immigrants over the 1990s, and also illuminates the most important trend in the destination choices of new Mexican immigrants - the move away from Los Angeles. Mexican inflows raise the relative supply of low-education labor in a city, leading to the question of how cities adapt to these shifts. One mechanism, suggested by the Hecksher Olin model, is shifting industry composition. We find limited evidence of this mechanism: most of the increases in the relative supply of loweducation labor are absorbed by changes in skill intensity within narrowly defined industries. Such adjustments could be readily explained if Mexican immigrant inflows had large effects on the relative wage structures of different cities. As has been found in previous studies of the local impacts of immigration, however, our analysis suggests that relative wage adjustments are small.

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Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 0504.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0504

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  1. Ethan Lewis, 2003. "Local, open economies within the U.S.: how do industries respond to immigration?," Working Papers 04-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green, 2005. "Changes in U.S. Wages, 19762000: Ongoing Skill Bias or Major Technological Change?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 609-648, July.
  3. Katz, Lawrence F & Murphy, Kevin M, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78, February.
  4. Darren Lubotsky, 2007. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 820-867, October.
  5. David Card, 1997. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," NBER Working Papers 5927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?," NBER Working Papers 11547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 1707, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. George J. Borjas & Lawrence F. Katz, 2005. "The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States," NBER Working Papers 11281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daron Acemoglu, 2001. "Directed Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 8287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Kevin Lang, 1991. "Undocumented Mexican-born Workers in the United States: How Many, How Permanent?," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market, pages 77-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, June.
  12. repec:fth:prinin:445 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Darren Lubotsky, 2000. "Chutes or Ladders? A Longitudinal Analysis of Immigrant Earnings," Working Papers 824, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  14. John DiNardo & David Card, 2000. "Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 360-367, May.
  15. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-91, October.
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