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More Hands, More Power? Estimating the Impact of Immigration on Output and Technology Choices Using Early 20th Century US Agriculture

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  • Jeanne Lafortune
  • José Tessada
  • Carolina González-Velosa

Abstract

Can shifts in output mix or technologies attenuate the impact of immigration on wages? We explore this using immigration-induced changes in relative labor supply at the county level in US Censuses of Agriculture in early 20th century. An increase in labor supply induced a shift away from capital-intensive crops and a reduction in farm size. Crop mix adjustments were more likely in counties less specialized in a given crop while adjustments in technological and organization changes were more marked in the rest. Suggestive evidence indicates that crop mix adjustments, but not organizational changes, were sufficient to limit wage impacts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. in its series Documentos de Trabajo with number 431.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ioe:doctra:431

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Keywords: Immigration; Agriculture; Output mix; Technological change;

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  1. Richard Hornbeck, 2012. "The Enduring Impact of the American Dust Bowl: Short- and Long-Run Adjustments to Environmental Catastrophe," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1477-1507, June.
  2. Ethan Lewis, 2004. "How did the Miami labor market absorb the Mariel immigrants?," Working Papers 04-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Whatley, Warren C., 1987. "Southern Agrarian Labor Contracts as Impediments to Cotton Mechanization," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 45-70, March.
  4. Alan L. Olmstead & Paul W. Rhode, 2000. "The diffusion of the tractor in American Agriculture: 1910-1960," ICER Working Papers 13-2000, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  5. Hanson, Gordon H. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2002. "Labor-market adjustment in open economies: Evidence from US states," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 3-29, June.
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