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The Labor Market Effects of a Refugee Wave: Applying the Synthetic Control Method to the Mariel Boatlift

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  • Giovanni Peri
  • Vasil Yasenov

Abstract

We apply the Synthetic Control Method to re-examine the labor market effects of the Mariel Boatlift, first studied by David Card (1990). This method improves on previous studies by choosing a control group of cities that best matches Miami’s labor market trends pre-Boatlift and providing more reliable inference. Using a sample of non-Cuban high-school dropouts we find no significant difference in the wages of workers in Miami relative to its control after 1980. We also show that by focusing on small sub-samples and matching the control group on a short pre-1979 series, as done in Borjas (2017), one can find large wage differences between Miami and control because of large measurement error.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Peri & Vasil Yasenov, 2015. "The Labor Market Effects of a Refugee Wave: Applying the Synthetic Control Method to the Mariel Boatlift," NBER Working Papers 21801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21801
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Card, 1990. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
    2. Angrist, Joshua D. & Krueger, Alan B., 1999. "Empirical strategies in labor economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1277-1366, Elsevier.
    3. David Card, 2009. "Immigration and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 1-21, May.
    4. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2003. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case Study of the Basque Country," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 113-132, March.
    5. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Ian P. Preston, 2013. "The Effect of Immigration along the Distribution of Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(1), pages 145-173.
    6. Giovanni Peri, 2014. "Do immigrant workers depress the wages of native workers?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 1-42, May.
    7. Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), 2015. "Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 5, number 5.
    8. 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.
    9. Bodvarsson, Örn B. & Van den Berg, Hendrik F. & Lewer, Joshua J., 2008. "Measuring immigration's effects on labor demand: A reexamination of the Mariel Boatlift," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 560-574, August.
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Borjas 'On Mariel'
      by Mark Thoma in Economist's View on 2016-01-25 20:11:51
    2. On Mariel
      by George Borjas in LaborEcon on 2016-01-26 02:48:19
    3. No, el proceso de revisión por pares tampoco es perfecto
      by Libertad González in Nada Es Gratis on 2016-07-14 10:30:24

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dalmazzo, Alberto & de Blasio, Guido & Poy, Samuele, 2018. "Local secessions, homophily, and growth. A model with some evidence from the regions of Abruzzo and Molise (Italy, 1963)," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 284-306.
    2. Ege Aksu & Refik Erzan & Murat Guray Kirdar, 2018. "The Impact of Mass Migration of Syrians on the Turkish Labor Market," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1815, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    3. Eliason, Paul & Lutz, Byron, 2018. "Can fiscal rules constrain the size of government? An analysis of the “crown jewel” of tax and expenditure limitations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 115-144.
    4. Cooke, Abigail & Kemeny, Thomas, 2017. "Cities, immigrant diversity, and complex problem solving," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 1175-1185.
    5. Russo, Giuseppe & Salsano, Francesco, 2019. "Electoral systems and immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    6. George J. Borjas, 2017. "Still More On Mariel: The Role of Race," NBER Working Papers 23504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Edo, Anthony & Rapoport, Hillel, 2019. "Minimum wages and the labor market effects of immigration," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    8. Neil Lee & Katy Morris & Thomas Kemeny, 2018. "Immobility and the Brexit vote," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 11(1), pages 143-163.
    9. Giovanni Peri, 2016. "Immigrants, Productivity, and Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 3-30, Fall.
    10. Borjas, George J., 2017. "Still More on Mariel: The Role of Race," Working Paper Series rwp17-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    11. Thomas Kemeny & Abigail Cooke, 2018. "Spillovers from immigrant diversity in cities," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 213-245.
    12. Nikolay Doudchenko & Guido W. Imbens, 2016. "Balancing, Regression, Difference-In-Differences and Synthetic Control Methods: A Synthesis," NBER Working Papers 22791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Ganong, Peter & Shoag, Daniel, 2017. "Why has regional income convergence in the U.S. declined?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 76-90.
    14. Victor Chernozhukov & Kaspar Wüthrich & Yu Zhu, 2017. "An exact and robust conformal inference method for counterfactual and synthetic controls," CeMMAP working papers CWP62/17, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    15. George J. Borjas, 2019. "Immigration and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 25836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg & Jan Stuhler, 2016. "The Impact of Immigration: Why Do Studies Reach Such Different Results?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 31-56, Fall.
    17. Barati, Mehdi & Adams, Scott, 2019. "Enhanced penalties for carrying firearms illegally and their effects on crime," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 207-219.
    18. Susan Athey & Guido W. Imbens, 2017. "The State of Applied Econometrics: Causality and Policy Evaluation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 3-32, Spring.
    19. Morales, Juan S., 2018. "The impact of internal displacement on destination communities: Evidence from the Colombian conflict," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 132-150.
    20. George J. Borjas, 2016. "The Wage Impact of the Marielitos: Additional Evidence," NBER Working Papers 21850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Jason Anastasopoulos & George J. Borjas & Gavin G. Cook & Michael Lachanski, 2018. "Job Vacancies, the Beveridge Curve, and Supply Shocks: The Frequency and Content of Help-Wanted Ads in Pre- and Post-Mariel Miami," NBER Working Papers 24580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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