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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. Leamer, E. & Levingsohn, J., 1994. "International Trade Theory: The Evidence," Working Papers 368, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    2. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," NBER Working Papers 5592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
    5. Rachel M. Friedberg & J. Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Working Papers 95-5, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. repec:fth:geneec:98.03 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. 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 98.12, Institut d'Economie et Econométrie, Université de Genève.
    10. 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.
    11. 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, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
    12. James Honaker & Gary King & Matthew Blackwell, . "Amelia II: A Program for Missing Data," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 45(i07).
    13. 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.
    14. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, July.
    15. Micahael Tomz & Jason Wittenberg & Gary King, . "Clarify: Software for Interpreting and Presenting Statistical Results," Journal of Statistical Software, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(i01).
    16. 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.
    17. Benhabib, Jess, 1996. "On the political economy of immigration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1737-1743, December.
    18. 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.
    19. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," NBER Working Papers 4955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 1998. "What Determines Individual Trade Policy Preferences?," NBER Working Papers 6531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. 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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    Cited by:
    1. de Melo, Jaime & Grether, Jean-Marie & Müller, Tobias, 2001. "The Political Economy of International Migration in a Ricardo-Viner Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 2714, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00586821 is not listed on IDEAS

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