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The Effects of Immigration on US Wages and Rents: A General Equilibrium Approach

Listed author(s):
  • Ottaviano, Gianmarco
  • Peri, Giovanni

In this paper we document a strong positive correlation of immigration flows with changes in average wages and average house rents for native residents across U.S. states. Instrumental variables estimates reveal that the correlations are compatible with a causal interpretation from immigration to wages and rents of natives. Separating the effects of immigrants on natives of different schooling levels we find positive effects on the wages and rents of highly educated and small effects on the wages (negative) and rents (positive) of less educated. We propose a model where natives and immigrants of three different education levels interact in production in a central district and live in the surrounding region. In equilibrium the inflow of immigrants has a positive productive effect on natives due to complementarieties in production as well as a positive competition effect on rents. The model calibrated and simulated with U.S.-states data matches most of the estimated effects of immigrants on wages and rents of natives in the period 1990-2005. This validation suggests the proposed model as a useful tool to evaluate the impacts of alternative immigration scenarios on U.S. wages and rents.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6551.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6551
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  1. Adriana Kugler & Mutlu Yuksel, 2008. "Effects of Low-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Natives: Evidence from Hurricane Mitch," NBER Working Papers 14293, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2006. "Globalization and the Gains From Variety," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 541-585.
  4. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
  5. David Card, 1990. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
  6. Patricia Cortes, 2008. "The Effect of Low-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Prices: Evidence from CPI Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 381-422, 06.
  7. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2016. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 3, pages 81-115 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  8. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-1278, December.
  9. David Card, 2009. "Immigration and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 1-21, May.
  10. George J. Borjas & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 13-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-177, March.
  12. 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.
  13. Liv Osland & Inge Thorsen & Jens Petter Gitlesen, 2007. "Housing Price Gradients in a Region with One Dominating Center," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 29(3), pages 321-346.
  14. Angrist, Joshua D, 1995. "The Economic Returns to Schooling in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1065-1087, December.
  15. Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Peri, Giovanni, 2005. "Cities and cultures," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 304-337, September.
  16. George J. Borjas, 2006. "Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  17. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2005. "Long-Run Substitutability Between More and Less Educated Workers: Evidence from U.S. States, 1950-1990," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 652-663, November.
  18. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
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