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Should the U.S. Have Locked the Heaven's Door? Reassessing the Benefits of the Postwar Immigration

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  • Chojnicki, Xavier

    () (University of Lille 1)

  • Docquier, Frédéric

    () (Université catholique de Louvain)

  • Ragot, Lionel

    () (University of Lille 1)

Abstract

This paper examines the economic impact of the second great immigration wave (1945-2000) on the US economy. Contrary to recent studies, we estimate that immigration induced important net gains and small redistributive effects among natives. Our analysis relies on a computable general equilibrium model combining the major interactions between immigrants and natives (labor market impact, fiscal impact, capital deepening, endogenous education, endogenous inequality). We use a backsolving method to calibrate the model on historical data and then consider two counterfactual variants: a cutoff of all immigration flows since 1950 and a stronger selection policy. According to our simulations, the postwar US immigration is beneficial for all cohorts and all skill groups. These gains are closely related to a long-run fiscal gain and a small labor market impact of immigrants. Finally, we also demonstrate that all generations would have benefited from a stronger selection of immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Chojnicki, Xavier & Docquier, Frédéric & Ragot, Lionel, 2005. "Should the U.S. Have Locked the Heaven's Door? Reassessing the Benefits of the Postwar Immigration," IZA Discussion Papers 1676, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1676
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Miller & Ronald Lee, 2000. "Immigration, Social Security, and Broader Fiscal Impacts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 350-354, May.
    2. David de la Croix & Frédéric Docquier, 2007. "School Attendance and Skill Premiums in France and the US: A General Equilibrium Approach," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(4), pages 383-416, December.
    3. Kjetil Storesletten, 2000. "Sustaining Fiscal Policy through Immigration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 300-323, April.
    4. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    5. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
    6. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 2004. "Welfare Migration: Is the Net Fiscal Burden a Good Measure of its Economic Impact on the Welfare of the Native-Born Population?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 50(4), pages 709-716.
    7. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2004. "The Role of Immigration in Dealing with the Developed World's Demographic Transition," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(3), pages 296-296, September.
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    10. Alan J. Auerbach & Philip Oreopoulos, 2000. "The Fiscal Effects of U.S. Immigration: A Generational-Accounting Perspective," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 14, pages 123-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Borjas, George J, 1999. "Immigration and Welfare Magnets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 607-637, October.
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    13. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Benjamin R. Page & John Sturrock, 1999. "Generational Accounts for the United States: An Update," NBER Chapters,in: Generational Accounting around the World, pages 489-518 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1999. "Migration and pension with international capital mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 141-150, October.
    16. Wasmer, Etienne, 2001. "Measuring human capital in the labor market: The supply of experience in 8 OECD countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 861-874, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Milo Bianchi & Paolo Buonanno & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Do Immigrants Cause Crime?," Post-Print hal-01629746, HAL.
    2. Xavier Chojnicki & Lionel Ragot, 2011. "Impacts of Immigration on Aging Welfare-State An Applied General Equilibrium Model for France," Working Papers 2011-13, CEPII research center.
    3. Vladimir Borgy & Xavier Chojnicki & Gilles Le Garrec & Cyrille Schwellnus, 2010. "Macroeconomic Consequences of Global Endogenous Migration: a General Equilibrium Analysis," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 97-98, pages 13-39.
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5382 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2015. "Legal Status and the Criminal Activity of Immigrants," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 175-206, April.
    6. Milo Bianchi, 2008. "Immigration policy and self-selecting migrants," Working Papers halshs-00587710, HAL.
    7. Milo Bianchi, 2013. "Immigration Policy and Self-Selecting Migrants," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 15(1), pages 1-23, February.
    8. Milo Bianchi & Paolo Buonanno & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Do Immigrants Cause Crime?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1318-1347, December.
    9. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2011. "Migration Restrictions and Criminal Behavior: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Papers 2011.53, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    10. Rob Hodgson & Jacques Poot, 2011. "New Zealand Research on the Economic Impacts of Immigration 2005-2010: Synthesis and Research Agenda," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1104, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    11. Akin Serife Nuray, 2012. "Immigration, Fiscal Policy, and Welfare in an Aging Population," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-45, July.
    12. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2011. "Legal status of immigrants and criminal behavior: evidence from a natural experiment," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 813, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    13. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2014. "The Ups and Downs in Women's Employment: Shifting Composition or Behavior from 1970 to 2010?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 14-212, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    computable general equilibrium; welfare; inequality; immigration;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models

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