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The Impact Of Immigration On The Wage Differential In Australia

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  • Hsiao-chuan Chang
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    Abstract

    This paper investigates a significant current issue in Australia, the impact of immigration on the wage differential between skilled and unskilled labour, using simulation analysis from a dynamic intertemporal general equilibrium model. The results show that immigration cannot explain variations of the wage differential in Australia during the past ten years. In most of the years investigated, immigration only explains a small part of the change in the wage differential. There is also no evidence that immigration exerts significant downward pressure on the unskilled wage. A comparison of four policy options demonstrates that accepting an increased number of skilled immigrants per year at a certain rate will decrease the wage differential in both the short and long run. Cutting the number of skilled immigrants per year at a certain rate will increase the wage differential in the long run and decrease the wage differential in the short run. An effective policy to change the skilled-unskilled wage differential requires a mixture of a set of instruments aimed at other economic issues such as international trade, productivity growth and education.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 859.

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    Length: 26 pages
    Date of creation: 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:859

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    1. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explorations with a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings with Heterogeneous Agents," NBER Working Papers 6384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
    3. Peter Kuhn & Ian Wooton, 1991. "Immigration, International Trade, and the Wages of Native Workers," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market, pages 285-304 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1989. "Labor Market Adjustments to Increased Immigration," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 55, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    5. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1989. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Natives," NBER Working Papers 3123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Borjas, G.J. & Freeman, R.B. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "On The Labor Market Effects Of Immigration And Trade," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1556, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    7. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, October.
    8. 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.
    9. Borjas, George J & Freeman, Richard B & Katz, Lawrence, 1996. "Searching for the Effect of Immigration on the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 246-51, May.
    10. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
    11. Addison, Thomas & Worswick, Christopher, 2002. "The Impact of Immigration on the Earnings of Natives: Evidence from Australian Micro Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 78(240), pages 68-78, March.
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