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The labor market effects of refugee waves: reconciling conflicting results

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  • Clemens, Michael A.
  • Hunt, Jennifer

Abstract

An influential strand of research has tested for the effects of immigration on natives’ wages and employment using exogenous refugee supply shocks as natural experiments. Several studies have reached conflicting conclusions about the effects of noted refugee waves such as the Mariel Boatlift in Miami and post-Soviet refugees to Israel. We show that conflicting findings on the effects of the Mariel Boatlift can be explained by a large difference in the pre- and post-Boatlift racial composition in subsamples of the Current Population Survey extracts. This compositional change is specific to Miami, unrelated to the Boatlift, and arises from selecting small subsamples of workers. We also show that conflicting findings on the labor market effects of other important refugee waves are caused by spurious correlation between the instrument and the endogenous variable introduced by applying a common divisor to both. As a whole, the evidence from refugee waves reinforces the existing consensus that the impact of immigration on average native-born workers is small, and fails to substantiate claims of large detrimental impacts on workers with less than high school

Suggested Citation

  • Clemens, Michael A. & Hunt, Jennifer, 2017. "The labor market effects of refugee waves: reconciling conflicting results," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86582, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:86582
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    1. MacKinnon, James G & Magee, Lonnie, 1990. "Transforming the Dependent Variable in Regression Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(2), pages 315-339, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anda David & Mohamed Ali Marouani & Charbel Nahas & Björn Nilsson, 2020. "The economics of the Syrian refugee crisis in neighbouring countries: The case of Lebanon," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 28(1), pages 89-109, January.
    2. Anthony Edo, 2017. "The Impact of Immigration on Wage Dynamics: Evidence from the Algerian Independence War," CESifo Working Paper Series 6595, CESifo.
    3. Nicole B. Simpson & Chad Sparber, 2020. "Estimating the Determinants of Remittances Originating from US Households Using CPS Data," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 161-189, January.
    4. Xie, Bin, 2017. "The Effects of Immigration Quotas on Wages, the Great Black Migration, and Industrial Development," IZA Discussion Papers 11214, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Edo, Anthony & Giesing, Yvonne & Öztunc, Jonathan & Poutvaara, Panu, 2019. "Immigration and electoral support for the far-left and the far-right," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 99-143.
    6. Stefano Fusaro & Enrique López-Bazo, 2018. "“The Impact of Immigration on Native Employment: Evidence from Italy”," IREA Working Papers 201822, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Sep 2018.
    7. d’Albis, Hippolyte & Boubtane, Ekrame & Coulibaly, Dramane, 2019. "Immigration and public finances in OECD countries," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 116-151.
    8. 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.
    9. Michael Wyrwich, 2018. "Migration restrictions and long-term regional development: evidence from large-scale expulsions of Germans after World War II," Jena Economic Research Papers 2018-002, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    10. Hippolyte d'Albis & Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Amélie Schurich-Rey, 2018. "Taxing capital and labor when both factors are imperfectly mobile internationally," Working Papers halshs-01851492, HAL.
    11. Hippolyte d'Albis & Ekrame Boubtane & Dramane Coulibaly, 2018. "Immigration and Government Spending in OECD Countries," Working Papers hal-01852411, HAL.
    12. Martins, Pedro S. & Piracha, Matloob & Varejão, José, 2018. "Do immigrants displace native workers? Evidence from matched panel data," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 216-222.
    13. George J. Borjas, 2017. "Still More On Mariel: The Role of Race," NBER Working Papers 23504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Bilal Malaeb & Jackline Wahba, 2018. "Impact of Refugees on Immigrants’ Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 1194, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 May 2018.
    15. Leonardo Bonilla-Mejía & Leonardo Fabio Morales & Didier Hermida-Giraldo & Luz A. Flórez, 2020. "El mercado laboral de los inmigrantes y no inmigrantes. Evidencia de la crisis venezolana de refugiados," Borradores de Economia 1119, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    16. Kelvin K. C. Seah, 2018. "The effect of immigration shocks on native fertility outcomes: evidence from a natural experiment," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 8(1), pages 1-34, December.
    17. Fernández-Huertas Moraga, Jesús & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Saiz, Albert, 2019. "Immigrant locations and native residential preferences: Emerging ghettos or new communities?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 133-151.
    18. Anda David & Mohamed Ali Marouani & Charbel Nahas & Björn Nilsson, 2018. "The economics of the Syrian refugee crisis in neighboring countries," Working Papers 20180001, UMR Développement et Sociétés, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement.
    19. Jason Anastasopoulos & George J. Borjas & Gavin G. Cook & Michael Lachanski, 2018. "Job Vacancies, the Beveridge Curve, and Supply Shocks: The Frequency and Content of Help-Wanted Ads in Pre- and Post-Mariel Miami," NBER Working Papers 24580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Borjas, George J., 2017. "Still More on Mariel: The Role of Race," Working Paper Series rwp17-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    refugees; immigration; instrumental variables;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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