The Labor Market Effects of a Refugee Wave: Applying the Synthetic Control Method to the Mariel Boatlift

57 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2015

See all articles by Giovanni Peri

Giovanni Peri

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Vasil Yasenov

Stanford Immigration Policy Lab; IZA

Date Written: December 2015

Abstract

We apply the Synthetic Control Method to re-examine the labor market effects of the Mariel Boatlift, first studied by David Card (1990). This method improves on previous studies by choosing a control group of cities that best matches Miami’s labor market trends pre-Boatlift and providing more reliable inference. Using a sample of non-Cuban high-school dropouts we find no significant difference in the wages of workers in Miami relative to its control after 1980. We also show that by focusing on small sub-samples and matching the control group on a short pre-1979 series, as done in Borjas (2017), one can find large wage differences between Miami and control because of large measurement error.

Suggested Citation

Peri, Giovanni and Yasenov, Vasil, The Labor Market Effects of a Refugee Wave: Applying the Synthetic Control Method to the Mariel Boatlift (December 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21801. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2703206

Giovanni Peri (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States
530-752-3033 (Phone)
530-752-9382 (Fax)

Vasil Yasenov

Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

30 Alta Road
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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