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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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    Cited by:

    1. Fallah, Belal & Krafft, Caroline & Wahba, Jackline, 2019. "The impact of refugees on employment and wages in Jordan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 203-216.
    2. Anthony Edo & Lionel Ragot & Hillel Rapoport & Sulin Sardoschau & Andreas Steinmayr, 2018. "The Effects of Immigration in Developed Countries: Insights from Recent Economic Research," CEPII Policy Brief 2018-22, CEPII research center.
    3. Ajzenman, Nicolas & Aksoy, Cevat Giray & Guriev, Sergei, 2020. "Exposure to Transit Migration, Public Attitudes and Entrepreneurship," IZA Discussion Papers 13130, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Dominik Sachs & Aleh Tsyvinski & Nicolas Werquin, 2016. "Nonlinear Tax Incidence and Optimal Taxation in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 22646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Björn Nilsson & Racha Ramadan, 2020. "Migration and Inequalities around the Mediterranean Sea," LIS Working papers 788, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    6. Edo, Anthony & Rapoport, Hillel, 2019. "Minimum wages and the labor market effects of immigration," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    7. Scharfbillig, Mario & Weißler, Marco, 2019. "Heterogeneous displacement effects of migrant labor supply - quasi-experimental evidence from Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 201915, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    8. Deole, Sumit & Huang, Yue, 2020. "How do new immigration flows affect existing immigrants? Evidence from the refugee crisis in Germany," GLO Discussion Paper Series 579, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. Bond, Timothy N. & Giuntella, Osea & Lonsky, Jakub, 2020. "Immigration and Work Schedules: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 13236, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Peri, Giovanni & Rury, Derek & Wiltshire, Justin C., 2020. "The Economic Impact of Migrants from Hurricane Maria," IZA Discussion Papers 13049, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Florian Gunsilius, 2020. "Distributional synthetic controls," Papers 2001.06118, arXiv.org, revised Mar 2020.
    12. Jongkwan Lee & Giovanni Peri & Vasil Yasenov, 2017. "The Employment Effects of Mexican Repatriations: Evidence from the 1930's," NBER Working Papers 23885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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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