More Hands, More Power? Estimating the Impact of Immigration on Output and Technology Choices Using Early 20th Century US Agriculture
Can shifts in output mix or technologies attenuate the impact of immigration on wages? We explore this using immigration-induced changes in relative labor supply at the county level in US Censuses of Agriculture in early 20th century. An increase in labor supply induced a shift away from capital-intensive crops and a reduction in farm size. Crop mix adjustments were more likely in counties less specialized in a given crop while adjustments in technological and organization changes were more marked in the rest. Suggestive evidence indicates that crop mix adjustments, but not organizational changes, were sufficient to limit wage impacts.
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