The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market
41 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2004
Date Written: August 1989
This paper presents an empirical analysis of the effect of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami labor market, focusing on the wages and unemployment rates of less-skilled workers. The Mariel immigrants increased the population and labor force of the Miami metropolitan area by 7 percent. Most of the immigrants were relatively unskilled: as a result, the proportional increase in labor supply to less-skilled occupations and industries was much greater. Nevertheless, an analysis of wages of non-Cuban workers over the 1979-85 period reveals virtually no effect of the Mariel influx. Likewise, there is no indication that the Boatlift lead to an increase in the unemployment rates of less-skilled blacks or other non-Cuban workers. Even among the Cuban population wages and unemployment rates of earlier immigrants were not substantially effected by the arrival of the Mariels.
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