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The contribution of immigration to local labor market adjustment

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  • Michael Amior

Abstract

The US suffers from persistent regional disparities in employment rates. In principle, these disparities should be eliminated by population mobility. Can immigration fulfil this role? Remarkably, since 1960, I show that new migrants from abroad account for 40% of the average population response to these disparities - which vastly exceeds their historic share of gross migratory flows. But despite this, immigration does not significantly accelerate local population adjustment (or reduce local employment rate disparities), as it crowds out the contribution from internal mobility. Indeed, this crowd-out can help account for the concurrent decline in internal mobility. Finally, I attribute the "excess" foreign contribution to a local snowballing effect, driven by persistent local shocks and the dynamics of migrant enclaves. This mechanism raises challenges to the (pervasive) application of migrant enclaves as an instrument for foreign inflows. But rather than abandoning the instrument, I offer an empirical strategy (motivated by my model) to overcome these challenges; and I demonstrate its efficacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Amior, 2020. "The contribution of immigration to local labor market adjustment," CEP Discussion Papers dp1678, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1678
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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1678.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg & Jan Stuhler, 2017. "Labor Supply Shocks, Native Wages, and the Adjustment of Local Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(1), pages 435-483.
    2. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Interstate Migration Has Fallen Less Than You Think: Consequences of Hot Deck Imputation in the Current Population Survey," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1061-1074, August.
    3. Sanderson, Eleanor & Windmeijer, Frank, 2016. "A weak instrument F-test in linear IV models with multiple endogenous variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 190(2), pages 212-221.
    4. Gaetano Basso & Francesco D’Amuri & Giovanni Peri, 2019. "Immigrants, Labor Market Dynamics and Adjustment to Shocks in the Euro Area," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 67(3), pages 528-572, September.
    5. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2016. "The Masking of the Decline in Manufacturing Employment by the Housing Bubble," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 179-200, Spring.
    6. Gaetano Basso & Giovanni Peri & Ahmed Rahman, 2017. "Computerization and Immigration: Theory and Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 23935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Cadena, Brian C., 2014. "Recent immigrants as labor market arbitrageurs: Evidence from the minimum wage," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 1-12.
    8. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
    9. Mai Dao & Davide Furceri & Prakash Loungani, 2017. "Regional Labor Market Adjustment in the United States: Trend and Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 243-257, May.
    10. Gihoon Hong & John McLaren, 2015. "Are Immigrants a Shot in the Arm for the Local Economy?," NBER Working Papers 21123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; 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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