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Quantitative Impact of Reducing Barriers to Skilled Labor Immigration: The Case of the US H-1B Visa

Listed author(s):
  • Hyun Lee

    (University of Connecticut)

Registered author(s):

In this paper, I develop a novel two-country general equilibrium model of immigration and return migration with incomplete markets and heterogeneous agents. I use the model to quan-tify the short-run and the long-run macroeconomic impacts of permanently doubling the US H-1B visa quota. In the short-run, I find huge endogenous increase in visa application by less talented skilled foreigners, which increases the probability of obtaining the H-1B visa by only 11 percentage points. In the long-run, US experiences a modest gain in output per capita. Most importantly, I find that there exists a sizable mass of US native skilled workers who—despite the decrease in their equilibrium wage—gain in welfare because of their accumulated capital holdings. Furthermore, I highlight the importance of including return migration in a quantita-tive model of international labor mobility by showing that shutting down return migration in my model results in overestimating the magnitude of the welfare changes by more than sixfold for certain cohorts. JEL Classification: E13, E24, F22, O11, J61 Key words: Immigration, heterogeneous agent model, H-1B visa quota, welfare, transition path, human capital, return migration

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File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2016-35.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2016-35.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2016
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2016-35
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University of Connecticut 365 Fairfield Way, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063

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Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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