IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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

  • Chojnicki, Xavier


    (University of Lille 1)

  • Docquier, Frédéric


    (Université catholique de Louvain)

  • Ragot, Lionel


    (University of Lille 1)

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1676.

in new window

Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Population Economics, 2011, 24 (1), 317-359
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1676
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
  3. Storesletten, Kjetil, 1998. "Sustaining Fiscal Policy Through Immigration," Seminar Papers 664, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  4. David, de la Croix & Frédéric Docquier, 2003. "Diverging patterns of education premium and school attendance in France and the US : a Walrasian view," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2003010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  5. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 2004. "Welfare Migration: Is the Net Fiscal Burden a Good Measure of its Economics Impact on the Welfare of the Native-Born Population?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1273, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Rachel M. Friedberg & J. Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Working Papers 95-5, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. George J. Borjas, 1998. "Immigration and Welfare Magnets," NBER Working Papers 6813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1999. "Migration and pension with international capital mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 141-150, October.
  11. 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.
  12. repec:oup:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:4:p:1335-1374 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence Kotlikoff, 2004. "The Role of Immigration in Dealing with the Developed World's Demographic Transition," NBER Working Papers 10512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374.
  15. 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.
  16. Holger Bonin & Bernd Raffelhüschen & Jan Walliser, . "Can Immigration Alleviate the Demographic Burden?," EPRU Working Paper Series 99-17, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  17. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  18. 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.
  19. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2000. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1676. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.