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A Meta-Analytic Assessment of the Effect of Immigration on Wages

  • Simonetta Longhi

    (Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Peter Nijkamp

    (Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

  • Jacques Poot

    ()

    (University of Waikato)

In our increasingly interconnected and open world, international migration is becoming an important socio-economic phenomenon for many countries. Since the early 1980s, many studies have been undertaken of the impact of immigration on host labour markets. Borjas (2003) noted that the estimated effect of immigration on the wage of native workers varies widely from study to study and sometimes even within the same study. In addition, these effects cluster around zero. Such a small effect is a rather surprising outcome, given that in a closed competitive labour market an increase in labour supply may be expected to exert a downward pressure on wages. We revisit this issue by applying meta-analytic techniques to a sample of eighteen papers, which altogether generated 348 estimates of the percentage change in the wage of a native worker with respect to a one percentage point increase in the ratio of immigrants over native workers. While many studies in our sample employ US data, estimates are obtained from Germany, The Netherlands, France, Norway, Austria, Israel and Australia. Our analysis shows that results vary across countries and are interalia related to the type of modelling approach. Technical issues such as publication bias and quality of the estimates are addressed as well. A negative but small effect of immmigration on wages of native groups with similar skills appears rather robust.

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File URL: ftp://mngt.waikato.ac.nz/RePEc/wai/pscdps/dp-47.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Waikato, Population Studies Centre in its series Population Studies Centre Discussion Papers with number dp-47.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 16 Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wai:pscdps:dp-47
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  1. Addison, Thomas & Worswick, Christopher, 2002. "The Impact of Immigration on the Earnings of Natives: Evidence from Australian Micro Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 78(240), pages 68-78, March.
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  27. George J. Borjas, 2001. "Does Immigration Grease the Wheels of the Labor Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(1), pages 69-134.
  28. Greenwood, Michael J. & Hunt, Gary L. & Kohli, Ulrich, 1997. "The factor-market consequences of unskilled immigration to the United States," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-28, March.
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