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Immigration and African-American Employment Opportunities: The Response of Wages, Employment, and Incarceration to Labor Supply Shocks

  • George J. Borjas
  • Jeffrey Grogger
  • Gordon H. Hanson

The employment rate of black men, and particularly of low-skill black men, fell precipitously from 1960 to 2000. At the same time, the incarceration rate of black men rose markedly. This paper examines the relation between immigration and these trends in black employment and incarceration. Using data drawn from the 1960-2000 U.S. Censuses, we find a strong correlation between immigration, black wages, black employment rates, and black incarceration rates. As immigrants disproportionately increased the supply of workers in a particular skill group, the wage of black workers in that group fell, the employment rate declined, and the incarceration rate rose. Our analysis suggests that a 10-percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 4.0 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by 3.5 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by almost a full percentage point.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12518.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12518
Note: ITI LS
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  1. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
  2. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Recent immigrants: Unexpected implications for crime and incarceration," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(4), pages 654-679, July.
  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. Steven Stern, 1989. "Measuring the Effect of Disability on Labor Force Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 361-395.
  5. Welch, Finis, 1990. "The Employment of Black Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S26-74, January.
  6. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2000. "The Role of Deportation in the Incarceration of Immigrants," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 351-386 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Cross-city evidence on the relationship between immigration and crime," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 457-493.
  8. Bruce Western & Becky Pettit, 2000. "Incarceration and racial inequality in men's employment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 3-16, October.
  9. Chinhui Juhn, 2003. "Labor Market Dropouts and Trends in the Wages of Black and White Men," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 643-662, July.
  10. Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 2004. "Crime and Economic Incentives," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
  11. Jeff Grogger & Michael Willis, 2000. "The Emergence Of Crack Cocaine And The Rise In Urban Crime Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 519-529, November.
  12. Abdurrahman Aydemir & George J. Borjas, 2011. "Attenuation Bias in Measuring the Wage Impact of Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 69-113, 01.
  13. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
  14. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-91, October.
  15. Roland G. Fryer & Paul S. Heaton & Steven D. Levitt & Kevin M. Murphy, 2005. "Measuring the Impact of Crack Cocaine," NBER Working Papers 11318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists," NBER Working Papers 11627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. Chinhui Juhn, 2003. "Labor market dropouts and trends in the wages of black and white men," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 643-662, July.
  20. Gronau, Reuben, 1977. "Leisure, Home Production, and Work-The Theory of the Allocation of Time Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1099-1123, December.
  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, October.
  22. Juhn, Chinhui, 1992. "Decline of Male Labor Market Participation: The Role of Declining Market Opportunities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 79-121, February.
  23. Bruce Western & Becky Pettit, 2000. "Incarceration and Racial Inequality in Men's Employment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 3-16, October.
  24. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Ming Ching Luoh, 2010. "Male Incarceration, the Marriage Market, and Female Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 614-627, August.
  25. George J. Borjas, 2005. "Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration," NBER Working Papers 11610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "Racial Trends in Male Labor Force Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 911-20, December.
  27. John Bound & Michael Schoenbaum & Timothy Waidmann, 1995. "Race and Education Differences in Disability Status and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 5159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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