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Immigrants, Productivity, and Labor Markets

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  • Giovanni Peri

Abstract

Immigration has been a steady force acting on population and employment within countries throughout human history. Focusing on the last four decades, we show that the mix of immigrants to rich countries has been, overall, rather balanced between college and non-college educated. The growth of immigration has been driven by immigrants from nonrich countries. The economic impact of immigration on receiving economies needs to be understood by analyzing the specific skills brought by immigrants. The complementarity and substitutability between immigrants and natives in employment, and the response of receiving economies in terms of specialization and technological choices, are important when considering the general equilibrium effects of immigration. In the United States, a balanced composition of immigrants between college and noncollege educated, together with the adjustment of demand and technology, imply that general equilibrium effects on relative and absolute wages have been small.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Peri, 2016. "Immigrants, Productivity, and Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 3-30, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:30:y:2016:i:4:p:3-30
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.30.4.3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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