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Assessing Inherent Model Bias: An Application to Native Displacement in Response to Immigration

  • Giovanni Peri
  • Chad Sparber

There is a long-standing debate among academics about the effect of immigration on native internal migration decisions. If immigrants displace natives this may indicate a direct cost of immigration in the form of decreased employment opportunity for native workers. Moreover, displacement would also imply that cross-region analyses of wage effects systematically underestimate the consequences of immigration. The widespread use of such area studies for the US and other countries makes it especially important to know whether a native internal response to immigration truly occurs. This paper introduces a microsimulation methodology to test for inherent bias in regression models that have been used in the literature. We show that some specifications have built biases into their models, thereby casting doubt on the validity of their results. We then provide a brief empirical analysis with a panel of observed US state-by-skill data. Together, our evidence argues against the existence of native displacement. This implies that cross-region analyses of immigration's effect on wages are still informative.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16332.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16332.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Publication status: published as Peri, Giovanni & Sparber, Chad, 2011. "Assessing inherent model bias: An application to native displacement in response to immigration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 82-91, January.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16332
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  1. George J. Borjas, 2005. "Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration," NBER Working Papers 11610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Peri, Giovanni, 2007. "The Effects of Immigration on US Wages and Rents: A General Equilibrium Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 6551, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. David Card & Ethan Lewis, 2005. "The Diffusion of Mexican Immigrants During the 1990s: Explanations and Impacts," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0504, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  4. Ethan Lewis, 2005. "Immigration, skill mix, and the choice of technique," Working Papers 05-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. 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.
  6. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2009. "Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(3), pages 135-69, July.
  7. David Card, 2009. "Immigration and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 1-21, May.
  8. Simonetta LONGHI & Peter NIJKAMP & Jacques POOT, 2008. "Meta-Analysis Of Empirical Evidence On The Labour Market Impacts Of Immigration," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 27, pages 161-191.
  9. George J. Borjas, 1980. "The Relationship between Wages and Weekly Hours of Work: The Role of Division Bias," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(3), pages 409-423.
  10. David Card, 2007. "How Immigration Affects U.S. Cities," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0711, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  11. Gianmarco I P Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," Working Papers 2008.77, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  12. Card, David, 2004. "Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?," IZA Discussion Papers 1119, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. John DiNardo & David Card, 2000. "Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 360-367, May.
  14. Peri, Giovanni, 2011. "Rethinking the area approach: Immigrants and the labor market in California," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-14, May.
  15. Gordon H. Hanson, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of the International Migration of Labor," NBER Working Papers 14490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Patricia Cortes, 2008. "The Effect of Low-Skilled Immigration on U.S. Prices: Evidence from CPI Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(3), pages 381-422, 06.
  17. 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.
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