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Room in the Kitchen for the Melting Pot: Immigration and Rental Prices


  • Albert Saiz

    (Department of Economics, Harvard University; Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)


This paper studies the response of housing markets to immigration shocks. Following Card (1990), I examine the changes in rental prices in Miami and three comparison groups after the Mariel boatlift. This exogenous immigration shock added an extra 9% to Miami's renter population in 1980. I find that rents increased from 8% to 11% more in Miami than in the comparison groups between 1979 and 1981. By 1983 the rent differential was still 7%. Rental units of higher quality were not affected by the immigration shock. Units occupied by low-income Hispanic residents in 1979 experienced an extra 8% differential hike with respect to other low-income units. Relative housing prices moved in the opposite direction from rents in the short run. © 2003 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Albert Saiz, 2003. "Room in the Kitchen for the Melting Pot: Immigration and Rental Prices," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 502-521, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:85:y:2003:i:3:p:502-521

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