The Effect of Immigrants on the Labor Market in the U.S.: Spatial versus Occupational Approach

Changhwan Kim, University of Texas at Austin
Arthur Sakamoto, University of Texas at Austin

The impact of immigration on the local labor market has been studied intensively in recent years, but a consensus about this effect has remained elusive. Most studies find little effect of the proportion immigrant on the local labor market when using states as the unit of analysis. A contrary approach is provided, however, by Borjas et al who argue that impact of immigrants does not operate at local labor market level, but rather at the national level. In this paper, we extend the approach of Borjas et al by investigating occupational labor markets at the national level. Using multilevel growth curve models, our analysis of the CPS-ORG data from 1994 to 2002 finds a negative net effect of immigration on the mean wages of occupational labor markets considered at the national level. This result is not evident, however, for a similar state-level analysis using the same data.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration, Income, Employment, Neighborhoods and Residential Context