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The effect of legal status on immigrant wages and occupational skills

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  • Quinn Steigleder
  • Chad Sparber

Abstract

Native and foreign-born workers with a high school degree or less education work in different types of occupations. This article exploits the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act to examine whether legal status causes immigrants to work in occupations that use skills similar to those of natives. Legal status decreases the manual skill intensity of immigrants’ occupations by about two percentiles. It increases communication skill intensity by a similar amount. This reduces the skill gap between Mexican-born and native-born American workers by 11–15%.

Suggested Citation

  • Quinn Steigleder & Chad Sparber, 2017. "The effect of legal status on immigrant wages and occupational skills," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 80-84, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:24:y:2017:i:2:p:80-84
    DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2016.1164811
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2007. "Does immigration affect wages? A look at occupation-level evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(5), pages 757-773, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cascio, Elizabeth U. & Lewis, Ethan G., 2019. "Distributing the Green (Cards): Permanent residency and personal income taxes after the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 135-150.
    2. Magris, Francesco & Russo, Giuseppe, 2016. "Fiscal Revenues and Commitment in Immigration Amnesties," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 75-90.
    3. Casarico, Alessandra & Facchini, Giovanni & Frattini, Tommaso, 2018. "What drives the legalization of immigrants? Evidence from IRCA," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 258-273.
    4. Wen Ci & Feng Hou & René Morissette, 2018. "Acquisition of permanent residence by temporary foreign workers in Canada: a panel study of labour market outcomes before and after the status transition," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 8(1), pages 1-24, December.
    5. Altangerel, Khulan, 2019. "Essays on immigration policy," Other publications TiSEM 954c6300-249e-496c-8cef-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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