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The Contribution of Foreign Migration to Local Labor Market Adjustment

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  • Michael Amior

Abstract

The US suffers from large regional disparities in employment rates which have persisted for many decades. It has been argued that foreign migration offers a remedy: it "greases the wheels" of the labor market by accelerating the adjustment of local population. Remarkably, I find that new migrants account for 30 to 60 percent of the average population response to local demand shocks since 1960. However, population growth is not significantly more responsive in locations better supplied by new migrants: the larger foreign contribution is almost entirely offset by a reduced contribution from internal mobility. This is fundamentally a story of "crowding out": I estimate that new foreign migrants to a commuting zone crowd out existing US residents one-for-one. The magnitude of this effect is puzzling, and it may be somewhat overstated by undercoverage of migrants in the census. Nevertheless, it appears to conflict with much of the existing literature, and I attempt to explain why. Methodologically, I offer tools to identify the local impact of immigration in the context of local dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Amior, 2018. "The Contribution of Foreign Migration to Local Labor Market Adjustment," CEP Discussion Papers dp1582, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1582
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    Cited by:

    1. Gaetano Basso & Giovanni Peri, 2020. "Internal Mobility: The Greater Responsiveness of Foreign-Born to Economic Conditions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 77-98, Summer.
    2. Jaeger, David A & Ruist, Joakim & Stuhler, Jan, 2018. "Shift-Share Instruments and the Impact of Immigration," CEPR Discussion Papers 12701, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Michael Amior & Alan Manning, 2018. "The Persistence of Local Joblessness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(7), pages 1942-1970, July.
    4. Amior, Michael, 2019. "Education and geographical mobility: the role of the job surplus," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 102701, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    migration; geographical mobility; local labor markets; employment;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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