The most subversive sentence I’ve ever written

In a paper on the “selection” of Mexican immigrants where we find that Mexican immigrants to the US are about the same as non-migrant Mexicans in terms of observable skills like education and age but, as it turns out, they have lower unobserved skills: It may be the case that because many border crossings occur […]

More on immigration

Ok. I can’t wait anymore. Someday this paper (co-written with my advisor) will show up here. The paper reviews trends in immigration in California and summarizes the findings of one of Peri’s working papers. In that more technical paper, Peri found a clever way to control for all three confounding effects I’ve discussed before that […]

Immigrants and native wages

I know I’ve had you riveted with the literature review in the last few posts about the effect of immigrants on native employment outcomes (i.e. wages and employment levels). I thought it was important, though, to point out that academic economists don’t really contest the existence of this zero correlation. That said, we have learned […]

The total effect of immigration is positive

Last time, I said that nobody really cares about the direct or partial effect of immigration on natives. This isn’t strictly true. If immigration policy were changed to only allow immigrants of a particular skill-type to come into the country, this would probably upset the people of that skill-type. Each individual immigrant hurts the employment […]

Partial derivatives are not total derivatives

When Borjas says, “immigration lowers the wage of competing workers,” he is only looking at the direct effect of immigrants on similarly skilled natives controlling for spillover effects. Immigrants affect natives in other indirect ways. Please indulge my equation writing. How else am I to demonstrate my intellectual superiority make my point as concretely as […]

George Borjas and the national approach

It has taken me too long to introduce the hero of this story. Borjas has had a series of papers, books and editorials since the mid-80′s that have each challenged the consensus economist’s view on immigration in support of the popular view. His work in the late 80′s uncovered the pattern of a secular decline […]

Slam dunk?

You’d think the question of whether there is an effect of immigration on native employment opportunities would be an open and shut case. Carefully comparing nations, states, cities and occupations using cross-sectional and quasi-experimental (here, here and here) data has shown there to be no correlation. Nations, states, cities and occupations with higher proportions of […]

A little better

Here’s the cross-state plot of the effect of immigrants on native wages: This time you’ll notice that I plotted the changes in the proportion of immigrants against the change in wages (these are changes from the 1990 to 2000 censuses). In effect, I’m controlling for fixed features of states. This makes the effect size (a […]

Non-experimental evidence

Angus Deaton recently said that all the attention that natural (and actual) experiments are getting is over blown. He claims experimental data has no special status in a hierarchy of evidence. I agree to the extent that I don’t think we should favor one form of evidence to the exclusion of other types of evidence […]

Even more zeros

There’s more experimental-like evidence that immigrants have little or no negative effect on native employment opportunities, if you need it. In 1962, 900,000 pied-noirs repatriated to France after fleeing Algeria following their loss in the country’s war of independence. These repatriates settled in the warmer departments of France with climates more similar to their former […]