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Immigrants in the U.S. labor market

  • Pia M. Orrenius
  • Madeline Zavodny

Immigrants supply skills that are in relatively short supply in the U.S. labor market and account for almost half of labor force growth since the mid-1990s. Migrant inflows have been concentrated at the low and high ends of the skill distribution. Large-scale unauthorized immigration has fueled growth of the low-skill labor force, which has had modest adverse fiscal and labor market effects on taxpayers and U.S.-born workers. High-skilled immigration has been beneficial in most every way, fueling innovation and spurring entrepreneurship in the high tech sector. Highly skilled immigrants have had a positive fiscal impact, contributing more in tax payments than they use in public services. Immigration reform appears to be on the horizon, and policies such as a legalization initiative, a guest-worker program and more permanent visas for high-skilled workers would likely be an improvement over the status quo.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Working Papers with number 1306.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:1306
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  1. Brian C. Cadena, 2013. "Native Competition and Low-Skilled Immigrant Inflows," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 48(4), pages 910-944.
  2. George J. Borjas, 1995. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
  3. William Kerr & William Lincoln, 2010. "The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and US Ethnic Invention," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp978, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  4. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Does immigration affect wages? A look at occupation-level evidence," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2003-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  5. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2010. "From brawn to brains: how immigration works for America," Annual Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  6. Jennifer Hunt, 2011. "Which Immigrants Are Most Innovative and Entrepreneurial? Distinctions by Entry Visa," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 417 - 457.
  7. Ottaviano, Gianmarco I. P. & Peri, Giovanni, 2007. "Rethinking the effects of immigration on wages," HWWI Research Papers 3-8, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
  8. Guillermina Jasso & Douglas Massey & Mark Rosenzweig & James Smith, 2000. "The new immigrant survey pilot (NIS-P): Overview and new findings about U.S. Legal immigrants at admission," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 127-138, February.
  9. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ying Pan, . "Gains from Legality´╝Ü Parents Immigration Status and Children's Scholastic Achievement," Departmental Working Papers 2011-05, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
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