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Immigrants' Residential Choices and their Consequences

Author

Listed:
  • Christoph Albert

    (UPF)

  • Joan Monras

    (CEMFI and CEPR)

Abstract

This paper investigates the causes and effects of the spatial distribution of immigrants across US cities. We document that: a) immigrants concentrate in large, high-wage, and expensive cities, b) the earnings gap between immigrants and natives is higher in larger and more expensive cities, and c) immigrants consume less locally than natives. In order to explain these findings, we develop a simple quantitative spatial equilibrium model in which immigrants consume (either directly, via remittances, or future consumption) a fraction of their income in their countries of origin. Thus, immigrants not only care about local prices, but also about price levels in their home country. Hence, if foreign goods are cheaper than local goods, immigrants prefer to live in high-wage, high-price, and high-productivity cities, where they also accept lower wages than natives. Using the estimated model we show that current levels of immigration have reduced economic activity in smaller, less productive cities by around 3 percent while they have expanded the activity in large and productive cities by around 4 percent. This has increased total aggregate output per worker by around .15 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Albert & Joan Monras, 2017. "Immigrants' Residential Choices and their Consequences," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1707, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1707
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Davis, Donald R. & Dingel, Jonathan I., 2020. "The comparative advantage of cities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    2. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Stephen J. Redding & Daniel M. Sturm & Nikolaus Wolf, 2015. "The Economics of Density: Evidence From the Berlin Wall," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 2127-2189, November.
    3. Suphanit Piyapromdee, 2017. "The Impact of Immigration on Wages, Internal Migration and Welfare," PIER Discussion Papers 69, Puey Ungphakorn Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1991. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Less-skilled Natives," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 201-234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Joan Monras, 2015. "Economic Shocs and Internal Migration," Sciences Po publications 2015-01, Sciences Po.
    6. Joan Llull, 2018. "The Effect of Immigration on Wages: Exploiting Exogenous Variation at the National Level," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(3), pages 608-662.
    7. Pablo D Fajgelbaum & Eduardo Morales & Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato & Owen Zidar, 2019. "State Taxes and Spatial Misallocation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(1), pages 333-376.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joan Monras & Javier Vázquez-Grenno & Ferran Elias, 2017. "Understanding the Effects of Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1708, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Michael Amior, 2020. "Immigration, local crowd-out and undercoverage bias," CEP Discussion Papers dp1669, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Immigration; location choices; spatial equilibrium;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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