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Immigration, Wages, and Compositional Amenities

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  • David Card

    ()
    (University of California Berkeley)

  • Christian Dustmann

    ()
    (University College London)

  • Ian Preston

    ()
    (University College London)

Abstract

Economists are often puzzled by the stronger public opposition to immigration than trade, since the two policies have symmetric effects on wages. Unlike trade, however, immigration changes the composition of the local population, imposing potential externalities on natives. While previous studies have focused on fiscal spillovers, a broader class of externalities arise because people value the "compositional amenities" associated with the characteristics of their neighbors and co-workers. In this paper we present a new method for quantifying the relative importance of these amenities in shaping attitudes toward immigration. We use data for 21 countries in the 2002 European Social Survey, which included a series of questions on the economic and social impacts of immigration, as well as on the desirability of increasing or reducing immigrant inflows. We find that individual attitudes toward immigration policy reflect a combination of concerns over conventional economic impacts (i.e., on wages and taxes) and compositional amenities, with substantially more weight on composition effects. Most of the difference in attitudes to immigration between more and less educated natives is attributable to heightened concerns over compositional amenities among the less-educated.

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Bibliographic Info

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 0929.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0929

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  1. Dustmann, Christian & Preston, Ian, 2000. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," CEPR Discussion Papers 2542, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Kristin Butcher & David Card, 1991. "Immigration and Wages: Evidence From the 1980's," Working Papers 661, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Mayda, Anna Maria, 2004. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 1115, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2007. "Why are Immigrants' Incarceration Rates so Low? Evidence on Selective Immigration, Deterrence, and Deportation," NBER Working Papers 13229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gang, Ira N. & Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L. & Yun, Myeong-Su, 2002. "Economic Strain, Ethnic Concentration and Attitudes Towards Foreigners in the European Union," IZA Discussion Papers 578, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Kevin H. O'Rourke, & Richard Sinnott, 2003. "Migration flows: Political Economy of Migration and the Empirical Challenges," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp06, IIIS.
  7. Mayda, Anna Maria, 2007. "Why Are People More Pro-Trade than Pro-Migration?," IZA Discussion Papers 2855, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2007. "A Unified Framework for Measuring Preferences for Schools and Neighborhoods," Working Papers 07-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S95-S126, December.
  11. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
  12. Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Immigrazione," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 3, pages 363-407, July-Sept.
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