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Resident Impacts of Immigration: Perspectives from America’s Age of Mass Migration

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  • Susan B. Carter

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside)

  • Richard C. Sutch

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside)

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    Abstract

    Elementary economic models are often used to suggest that immigration depresses the wages of native-born workers. These models assume that when immigrants enter a labour market, all other features of that market remain unchanged. Such an assumption is almost never valid. Here we explore the economic impacts of immigrants during America’s Age of Mass Migration a century ago. This was a period of dynamic structural change that witnessed the appearance of new industries, adoption of new technologies, discovery of new mineral resources, the rise of big business, and the geographic concentration of industries. We show that immigrants – and residents – selected destinations where labour demand and wages were rising. Thus, native workers experienced wage increases in the presence of heavy immigration. Models that abstract from the special characteristics of labour markets that attract immigrants misrepresent their economic impact.

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    File URL: http://econ.ucr.edu/papers/papers08/08-08.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2006
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200808.

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    Length: 34 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2006
    Date of revision: Jun 2008
    Handle: RePEc:ucr:wpaper:200808

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    Related research

    Keywords: Immigration; Internal migration; Economic history of immigration; Counterfactual analysis;

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    1. Jim Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman, 1998. "On the political economy of immigration and income redistribution," Working Papers 9804, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    2. 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.
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