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Did immigration contribute to wage stagnation of unskilled workers?

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  • Peri, Giovanni

Abstract

In this paper we first show that the timing and skill distribution of Immigrants to the U.S. between 1970 and 2014 imply they did not contribute to the decline in the wages of native, non-college educated workers – including high school dropouts – at the national level. We then review other evidence at the local level, which implies immigration is not associated with lower non-college wages. Rather, higher immigration seems associated with higher average (and college-level) wages. Local externalities, complementarities, efficient specialization and appropriate technological choice suggest at least part of the positive association is causal.

Suggested Citation

  • Peri, Giovanni, 2018. "Did immigration contribute to wage stagnation of unskilled workers?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 356-365.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:reecon:v:72:y:2018:i:2:p:356-365
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rie.2017.02.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "Rethinking The Effect Of Immigration On Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 2, pages 35-80 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    3. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2016. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 3, pages 81-115 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. repec:wsi:wschap:9789814719902_0001 is not listed on IDEAS
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    16. 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.
    17. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2016. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 3, pages 81-115 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    18. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
    19. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Giovanni Peri & Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber, 2016. "STEM Workers, H-1B Visas, and Productivity in US Cities," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 9, pages 277-307 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    21. George J. Borjas, 2015. "The Slowdown in the Economic Assimilation of Immigrants: Aging and Cohort Effects Revisited Again," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 483-517.
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    23. Ethan Lewis, 2011. "Immigration, Skill Mix, and Capital Skill Complementarity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 1029-1069.
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    Keywords

    Immigration; Wages; Inequality; Skills; Labor markets;

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