Substitutability as default?

I’m jumping ahead of my own narrative, but why does it seem ingrained in people (including economists) that immigrants must be competing with native workers? Why is complementarity so much more unlikely in people’s priors? We don’t have this bias when it comes to new technologies. In fact, we have the opposite bias. Despite the […]

А русских евреев принять на нашу работу?

Нет! ((Thanks Google Translate!)) An easy criticism of “experimental” data, like that from the Mariel boatlift, is it only applies to the particular situation under which the experiment was run. Immigrants may have had no effect on employment outcomes in the very special circumstances of Miami in the early 1980′s, but in other places and […]

¿Los cubanos del Mariel toman nuestros trabajos?

¡No! David Card’s famous paper studied the impact of the sudden arrival of 120,000 refugees to Miami in 1980. He estimates that the total labor supply in Miami suddenly increased by 7% and the Cuban work force increased by 20%. Because labor is one undifferentiated mass doing the same tasks, with the same skills, creating […]

Immigrants taking our jerbs?

I’m writing a “vulgarized” immigration paper (my Italian co-author’s adjective). One thing we academics like to do is pick on the idea that immigrants take the jobs of native-born Americans. Watching Fox the last couple of weeks, it doesn’t seem like many folks take that point of view anymore. Conservatives talk about the “rule of […]