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Labor-Market Competition and Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Kenneth F. Scheve
  • Matthew J. Slaughter

Abstract

This paper uses an individual-level data set to analyze the determinants of individual preferences over immigration policy in the United States. In particular, we test for a link from individual skill levels to stated immigration-policy preferences. Different economic models make contrasting predictions about the nature of this link. We have two main empirical results. First, less-skilled workers are significantly more likely to prefer limiting immigrant inflows into the United States. The result is robust to several different econometric specifications which account for determinants of policy preferences other than skills. Our finding suggests that over time horizons relevant to individuals when evaluating immigration policy, individuals thank that the U.S. economy absorbs immigrant inflows at least partly by changing wages. These preferences are consistent with a multi-cone' Heckscher Ohlin trade model and with a factor-proportions-analysis labor model. Second that less-skilled workers in high-immigration communities are especially anti-immigrationist. If anything, our evidence suggests attenuation of the skills-preferences correlation in high-immigration communities. These preferences are inconsistent with an area-analysis labor model.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 1999. "Labor-Market Competition and Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," NBER Working Papers 6946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6946 Note: ITI
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6946.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Antonio Spilimbergo & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1337-1357.
    2. George J. Borjas, 1995. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
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    4. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 1998. "What Determines Individual Trade Policy Preferences?," NBER Working Papers 6531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Leamer, Edward E. & Levinsohn, James, 1995. "International trade theory: The evidence," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1339-1394 Elsevier.
    6. Borjas, George J & Freeman, Richard B & Katz, Lawrence, 1996. "Searching for the Effect of Immigration on the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 246-251, May.
    7. de Melo, Jaime & Ettinger, Charles, 1998. "Determinants of Attitudes Towards Immigration: A Trade-Theoretic Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 1877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. 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.
    9. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
    10. Ashley S. Timmer & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1996. "Racism, Xenophobia or Markets? The Political Economy of Immigration Policy Prior to the Thirties," NBER Working Papers 5867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Marie Grether & Jaime de Melo & Tobias Müller, 2015. "The Political Economy of International Migration in a Ricardo–Viner Model," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Developing Countries in the World Economy, chapter 17, pages 411-437 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Francesco MAGRIS & Giuseppe RUSSO, 2005. "Voting on Mass Immigration Restriction," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, pages 67-92.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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