The Immigrant and Native-Born Wage Distributions: Evidence from United States Censuses

44 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 1999 Last revised: 10 Oct 2010

See all articles by Kristin F. Butcher

Kristin F. Butcher

Wellesley College; NBER

John E. DiNardo

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 1998

Abstract

Over the past thirty years, immigration has increased, immigrant characteristics have changed, and the relative mean wages of immigrants vis ... vis the native born have declined. Using data from four U.S. Censuses (1960 - 1990) we examine changes in the wage structure and their role in explaining comparisons between immigrants and the native-born in mean wages. Inter alia, we document that patterns of comparison between the immigrants and the native-born are not the same for men and for women, and that these differences in immigrant/native-born comparisons among men and women are a consequence of different evolutions in the wage structure. Although virtually ignored in the immigration literature, we return to a well-understood aspect of Blinder/Oaxaca differentials: the extent of measured discrimination depends on the base' prices used for comparison. Contrary to previous work which finds little impact of the wage structure on immigrant/native-born wage differentials, we observe that if the wage structure' had remained as it was in 1970, for example, the decline in immigrant wages relative to the native-born would generally be much smaller than has been observed.

Suggested Citation

Butcher, Kristin Frances and DiNardo, John, The Immigrant and Native-Born Wage Distributions: Evidence from United States Censuses (July 1998). NBER Working Paper No. w6630, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=123210

Kristin Frances Butcher (Contact Author)

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John DiNardo

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

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