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Computerization and Immigration: Theory and Evidence from the United States

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  • Gaetano Basso
  • Giovanni Peri
  • Ahmed Rahman

Abstract

Recent technological changes have been characterized as “routine-substituting,” reducing demand for routine tasks but increasing it for analytical and service tasks. Little is known about how these changes have impacted immigration, or task specialization between immigrants and natives. In this paper we show that such technological progress has been an important determinant of immigration, attracting immigrants who increasingly specialize in manual-service occupations. We also suggest that open- ness to immigration attenuated job and wage polarization for natives resulting from technological changes. We explain these facts with a model of technological progress and endogenous immigration. Simulations show that unskilled immigration attenuates the drop in routine employment proceeding from technological change, enhances skill-upgrading for natives, and raises economy-wide productivity and welfare.

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  • Gaetano Basso & Giovanni Peri & Ahmed Rahman, 2017. "Computerization and Immigration: Theory and Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 23935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23935
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Amior, Michael, 2020. "The contribution of immigration to local labor market adjustment," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108419, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Gaetano Basso & Francesco D’Amuri & Giovanni Peri, 2019. "Immigrants, Labor Market Dynamics and Adjustment to Shocks in the Euro Area," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 67(3), pages 528-572, September.
    3. Furtado, Delia & Kong, Haiyang, 2021. "How Do Low-Skilled Immigrants Adjust to Chinese Import Shocks? Evidence Using English Language Proficiency," IZA Discussion Papers 14152, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Anthony Edo & Lionel Ragot & Hillel Rapoport & Sulin Sardoschau & Andreas Steinmayr & Arthur Sweetman, 2020. "An introduction to the economics of immigration in OECD countries," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(4), pages 1365-1403, November.
    5. Chassamboulli, Andri & Peri, Giovanni, 2020. "The economic effect of immigration policies: analyzing and simulating the U.S. case," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 114(C).
    6. Gaetano Basso & Giovanni Peri, 2020. "Internal Mobility: The Greater Responsiveness of Foreign-Born to Economic Conditions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(3), pages 77-98, Summer.
    7. Gouranga Gopal Das & Sugata Marjit, 2018. "Skill, Innovation and Wage Inequality: Can Immigrants be the Trump Card?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7082, CESifo.
    8. Gaetano Basso, 2019. "The evolution of the occupational structure in Italy in the last decade," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 478, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Younjun Kim & Eric Thompson, 2021. "Routine-Biased Technological Change and Declining Employment Rate of Immigrants," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 319-353, June.
    10. Amior, Michael, 2018. "The contribution of foreign migration to local labor market adjustment," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 91705, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Gaetano Basso, 2020. "The Evolution of the Occupational Structure in Italy, 2007–2017," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 152(2), pages 673-704, November.
    12. Peri, Giovanni & Rutledge, Zachariah, 2020. "Revisiting Economic Assimilation of Mexican and Central Americans Immigrants in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 12976, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Emil Mihaylov & Kea Tijdens, 2019. "Measuring the Routine and Non-Routine Task Content of 427 Four-Digit ISCO-08 Occupations," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-035/IV, Tinbergen Institute.
    14. Bjorn Brey, 2021. "The effect of recent technological change on US immigration policy," Discussion Papers 2021-02, Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP).
    15. Das, Gouranga Gopal & Marjit, Sugata & Kar, Mausumi, 2020. "The Impact of Immigration on Skills, Innovation and Wages: Education Matters more than where People Come from," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 557-582.
    16. Bjorn Brey, 2021. "The effect of recent technological change on US immigration policy," Discussion Papers 2021-02, Nottingham Interdisciplinary Centre for Economic and Political Research (NICEP).
    17. Consolo, Agostino & Cette, Gilbert & Bergeaud, Antonin & Labhard, Vincent & Osbat, Chiara & Kosekova, Stanimira & Anyfantaki, Sofia & Basso, Gaetano & Basso, Henrique & Bobeica, Elena & Ciapanna, Eman, 2021. "Digitalisation: channels, impacts and implications for monetary policy in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 266, European Central Bank.
    18. Luciana Aimone Gigio, & Silvia Camussi & Vincenzo Maccarrone, 2021. "Changes in the employment structure and in job quality in Italy: a national and regional analysis," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 603, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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