(We need a new phrase that means the same thing as “in the news” but refers to links from high-profile blogs…)
Borjas has doubts about Peri’s assumption that low-skill natives and low-skill immigrants are compliments. He goes on to say that employers must be big winners in the immigration game because they spend lots of money lobbying Congress to get pro-immigration legislation passed.
Commentator Sami B has this observation, “the mere fact that foreigners at the same skill levels are willing to work for lower wages suggests to me that the “native” labor at time t was merely accruing rents in the form of income beyond the marginal productivity of their labor.” The point: who’s exploiting who? If immigrants can come into the country and do the same jobs for less, then the natives who currently have the jobs are getting paid more than they’re worth.
Actually, this supports Peri’s “hey they’re compliments” theory. Before the immigrant comes, natives are doing two jobs in one. One requires skills (language or other technical skill) and is high paying. The other is manual labor and low paying. When the immigrants come, they take the manual labor job (at low pay) and the natives specialize in the high paid, high skill job.
Division of labor is loverly.