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The Labor Market Impact of High-Skill Immigration

  • George J. Borjas

The rapid growth in the number of foreign students enrolled in American universities has transformed the higher education system, particularly at the graduate level. Many of these newly minted doctorates remain in the United States after receiving their doctoral degrees, so that the foreign student influx can have a significant impact in the labor market for high-skill workers. Using data drawn from the Survey of Earned Doctorates and the Survey of Doctoral Recipients, the study shows that a foreign student influx into a particular doctoral field at a particular time had a significant and adverse effect on the earnings of doctorates in that field who graduated at roughly the same time. A 10 percent immigration-induced increase in the supply of doctorates lowers the wage of competing workers by about 3 percent.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11217.

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Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Borjas, George J. "The Labor-Market Impact Of High-Skill Immigration," American Economic Review, 2005, v95(2,May), 56-60.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11217
Note: LS
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  1. George J. Borjas, 2009. "Immigration in High-Skill Labor Markets: The Impact of Foreign Students on the Earnings of Doctorates," NBER Chapters, in: Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment, pages 131-161 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Richard B. Freeman, 1976. "A cobweb model of the supply and starting salary of new engineers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(2), pages 236-248, January.
  5. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S65-97, October.
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