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Labor-Market Competition and Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy

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  • Kenneth F. Scheve
  • Matthew J. Slaughter
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    Abstract

    This paper uses an individual-level data set to analyze the determinants of individual preferences over immigration policy in the United States. In particular, we test for a link from individual skill levels to stated immigration-policy preferences. Different economic models make contrasting predictions about the nature of this link. We have two main empirical results. First, less-skilled workers are significantly more likely to prefer limiting immigrant inflows into the United States. The result is robust to several different econometric specifications which account for determinants of policy preferences other than skills. Our finding suggests that over time horizons relevant to individuals when evaluating immigration policy, individuals thank that the U.S. economy absorbs immigrant inflows at least partly by changing wages. These preferences are consistent with a multi-cone' Heckscher Ohlin trade model and with a factor-proportions-analysis labor model. Second that less-skilled workers in high-immigration communities are especially anti-immigrationist. If anything, our evidence suggests attenuation of the skills-preferences correlation in high-immigration communities. These preferences are inconsistent with an area-analysis labor model.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6946.

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    Date of creation: Feb 1999
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    Publication status: published as Scheve, Kenneth F. and Matthew J. Slaughter. "What Determines Individual Trade-Policy Preferences?," Journal of International Economics, 2001, v54(2,Aug), 267-292.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6946

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    1. Bilal, S. & Grether, J.-M. & de Melo, J., 1998. "Determinants of Attitudes Towards Immigration: A Trade-Theoretic Approach," Research Papers by the Institute of Economics and Econometrics, Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva, Institut d'Economie et Econométrie, Université de Genève 98.12, Institut d'Economie et Econométrie, Université de Genève.
    2. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
    3. David Card, 1989. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
    5. James Honaker & Gary King & Matthew Blackwell, . "Amelia II: A Program for Missing Data," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 45(i07).
    6. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," IDB Publications 6798, Inter-American Development Bank.
    7. Benhabib, Jess, 1996. "On the political economy of immigration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1737-1743, December.
    8. 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.
    9. Micahael Tomz & Jason Wittenberg & Gary King, . "Clarify: Software for Interpreting and Presenting Statistical Results," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(i01).
    10. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1991. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Less-skilled Natives," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market, pages 201-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
    12. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1996. "Searching for the Effect of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 5454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Leamer, Edward E. & Levinsohn, James, 1995. "International trade theory: The evidence," Handbook of International Economics, Elsevier, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1339-1394 Elsevier.
    14. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-91, October.
    15. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
    16. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 1998. "What Determines Individual Trade Policy Preferences?," NBER Working Papers 6531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Labor Market Adjustments to Increased Immigration," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market, pages 167-199 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," NBER Working Papers 4955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. repec:fth:geneec:98.03 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1.
    21. Ashley S. Timmer & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1996. "Racism, Xenophobia or Markets? The Political Economy of Immigration Policy Prior to the Thirties," NBER Working Papers 5867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00586821 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jaime MELO DE & Jean Marie GRETHER & Jean Claude MULLER, 2000. "The Political Economy of International Migration in a Ricardo-Viner Model," Working Papers 200021, CERDI.

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