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Immigration and Product Diversity

  • Francesca Mazzolari
  • David Neumark

We study the effects of immigration on the diversity of consumption choices. Data from California in the 1990s indicate that immigration is associated with fewer stand-alone retail stores, and a greater number of large and in particular big-box retailers - evidence that likely contradicts a diversity-enhancing effect of immigration. In contrast, focusing on the restaurant sector for which we can better identify the types of products consumed by customers, we find that immigration is associated with increased ethnic diversity of restaurants. This latter effect appears to come in part from the comparative advantage of immigrants in the production of ethnic goods.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14900.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14900.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Publication status: published as Francesca Mazzolari & David Neumark, 2012. "Immigration and product diversity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 1107-1137, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14900
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