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Does Immigration Affect Wages? A Look at Occupation-Level Evidence

  • Orrenius, Pia M.

    ()

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)

  • Zavodny, Madeline

    ()

    (Agnes Scott College)

Previous research has reached mixed conclusions about the effect of higher levels of immigration on the wages of natives. This paper reexamines this question using data from the Current Population Survey and the Immigration and Naturalization Service and focuses on differential effects by skill level. Using occupation as a proxy for skill, we find that an increase in the fraction of foreign-born workers tends to lower the wages of natives in blue collar occupations – particularly after controlling for endogeneity – but does not have a statistically significant negative effect among natives in skilled occupations. The results also indicate that immigrants adjusting their immigration status within the U.S., but not newly arriving immigrants, have a significant negative impact on the wages of low-skilled natives. This suggests that immigrants become closer substitutes for natives as they spend more time in the U.S.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2481.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2007, 14 (5), 757-773
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2481
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  1. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
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  3. Friedberg, Rachel M, 2000. "You Can't Take It with You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 221-51, April.
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  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.
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  9. Chiswick, Carmel U, 1989. "The Impact of Immigration on the Human Capital of Natives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 464-86, October.
  10. Chiswick, Carmel U. & Chiswick, Barry R. & Karras, Georgios, 1992. "The impact of immigrants on the macroeconomy," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 279-316, December.
  11. Hanson, Gordon H. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2002. "Labor-market adjustment in open economies: Evidence from US states," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 3-29, June.
  12. Myriam Quispe-Agnoli & Madeline Zavodny, 2002. "The effect of immigration on output mix, capital, and productivity," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q1, pages 17-27.
  13. Michael J. Greenwood & Gary L. Hunt, 1990. "Economic effects of immigrants on native and foreign-born workers: complementarity, substitutability, and other channels of influence," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
  14. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1991. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Less-skilled Natives," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 201-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Harriet Orcutt Duleep & Mark C. Regets, 2013. "The Elusive Concept of Immigrant Quality: Evidence from 1970-1990," Working Papers 138, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  16. Wei-Yin Hu, 2000. "Immigrant Earnings Assimilation: Estimates from Longitudinal Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 368-372, May.
  17. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
  18. Kristin Butcher & David Card, 1991. "Immigration and Wages: Evidence From the 1980's," Working Papers 661, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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  20. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Labor Market Adjustments to Increased Immigration," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 167-199 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1.
  22. Barry Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 181-185, May.
  23. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-73, October.
  24. Mark C. Regets & Harriet Orcutt Duleep, 1999. "Immigrants and Human-Capital Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 186-191, May.
  25. Rachel M. Friedberg, 2001. "The Impact Of Mass Migration On The Israeli Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1373-1408, November.
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  28. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1989. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Natives," NBER Working Papers 3123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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