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The labour market consequences of refugee supply shocks

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  • George J. Borjas
  • Joan Monras

Abstract

SUMMARYThe continuing inflow of hundreds of thousands of refugees into many European countries has ignited much political controversy and raised questions that require a fuller understanding of the determinants and consequences of refugee supply shocks. This paper revisits four historical refugee shocks to document their labour market impact. Specifically, we examine: The influx of Marielitos into Miami in 1980; the influx of French repatriates and Algerian nationals into France at the end of the Algerian Independence War in 1962; the influx of Jewish émigrés into Israel after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s; and the exodus of refugees from the former Yugoslavia during the long series of Balkan wars between 1991 and 2001. We use a common empirical approach, derived from factor demand theory, and publicly available data to measure the impact of these shocks. Despite the differences in the political forces that motivated the various flows, and in economic conditions across receiving countries, the evidence reveals a common thread that confirms key insights of the canonical model of a competitive labour market: Exogenous supply shocks adversely affect the labour market opportunities of competing natives in the receiving countries, and often have a favorable impact on complementary workers. In short, refugee flows can have large distributional consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas & Joan Monras, 2017. "The labour market consequences of refugee supply shocks," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 32(91), pages 361-413.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecpoli:v:32:y:2017:i:91:p:361-413.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/epolic/eix007
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    1. Cohen-Goldner, Sarit & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2011. "The dynamic impact of immigration on natives' labor market outcomes: Evidence from Israel," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1027-1045.
    2. Rachel M. Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact of Mass Migration on the Israeli Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1373-1408.
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    5. Joan Monras, 2020. "Immigration and Wage Dynamics: Evidence from the Mexican Peso Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(8), pages 3017-3089.
    6. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 2021. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Foundational Essays in Immigration Economics, chapter 8, pages 163-234, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    J2; J23; J30; J61; J68;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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    1. The labour market consequences of refugee supply shocks (Economic Policy 2017) in ReplicationWiki

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