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The Labor Market Effects of a Refugee Wave: Synthetic Control Method Meets the Mariel Boatlift

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  • Giovanni Peri
  • Vasil Yasenov

Abstract

We apply the synthetic control method to reexamine the labor market effects of the Mariel Boatlift, first studied by David Card (1990). This method improves on previous studies by choosing a control group of cities that best matches Miami’s labor market trends pre-Boatlift and providing more reliable inference. Using a sample of non-Cuban high school dropouts we find no significant difference in the wages of workers in Miami relative to its control after 1980. We also show that by focusing on small subsamples and matching the control group on a short pre-1979 series, as done in Borjas (2017), one can find large wage differences between Miami and the control because of large measurement error.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Peri & Vasil Yasenov, 2019. "The Labor Market Effects of a Refugee Wave: Synthetic Control Method Meets the Mariel Boatlift," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(2), pages 267-309.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:54:y:2019:i:2:p:267-309
    Note: DOI: 10.3368/jhr.54.2.0217.8561R1
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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