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Assessing inherent model bias: An application to native displacement in response to immigration

  • Peri, Giovanni
  • Sparber, Chad

There is a long-standing debate among academics about the effect of immigration on native internal migration decisions. If immigrants displace natives this may indicate a direct cost of immigration in the form of decreased employment opportunity for native workers. Moreover, displacement would also imply that cross-region analyses of wage effects systematically underestimate the consequences of immigration. The widespread use of such area studies for the US and other countries makes it especially important to know whether a native internal response to immigration truly occurs. This paper introduces a microsimulation methodology to test for inherent bias in regression models that have been used in the literature. We show that some specifications have built biases into their models, thereby casting doubt on the validity of their results. We then provide a brief empirical analysis with a panel of observed US state-by-skill data. Together, our evidence argues against the existence of native displacement. This implies that cross-region analyses of immigration's effect on wages are still informative.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 69 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 82-91

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:69:y:2011:i:1:p:82-91
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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  1. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2000. "Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?," NBER Working Papers 7578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. George J. Borjas, 2006. "Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  3. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2007. "The Effects of Immigration on U.S. Wages and Rents: A General Equilibrium Approach," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0713, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  4. David Card & Ethan G. Lewis, 2005. "The Diffusion of Mexican Immigrants During the 1990s: Explanations and Impacts," NBER Working Papers 11552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Card, David, 2004. "Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?," IZA Discussion Papers 1119, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2008. "Task Specialisation, Immigration and Wages," Development Working Papers 252, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  7. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," NBER Working Papers 14188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
  9. Peri, Giovanni, 2011. "Rethinking the area approach: Immigrants and the labor market in California," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-14, May.
  10. Simonetta LONGHI & Peter NIJKAMP & Jacques POOT, 2008. "Meta-Analysis Of Empirical Evidence On The Labour Market Impacts Of Immigration," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 27, pages 161-191.
  11. Patricia Cortes, 2008. "The Effect of Low-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Prices: Evidence from CPI Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 381-422, 06.
  12. George J. Borjas, 1980. "The Relationship between Wages and Weekly Hours of Work: The Role of Division Bias," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(3), pages 409-423.
  13. David Card, 2009. "Immigration and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 1-21, May.
  14. Gordon H. Hanson, 2009. "The Economic Consequences of the International Migration of Labor," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 179-208, 05.
  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. Ethan Lewis, 2005. "Immigration, Skill Mix, and the Choice of Technique," Working Papers 05-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. David Card, 2007. "How Immigration Affects U.S. Cities," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0711, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
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