H-1B Visas and Wages in Accounting: Evidence from Deloitte's Payroll
51 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2018 Last revised: 4 Aug 2020
Date Written: August 2, 2020
We use payroll data from a Big 4 accounting firm to examine the starting wage differentials for H-1B visa holders. Prior research in other industries has found both positive and negative differentials, but primarily relies on surveyed salary data. We observe that relative to U.S. citizen new hires – matched on office, position, and time of hire – newly hired accountants with H-1B visas receive starting salaries that are lower by approximately 10%. This suggests that, at least in the payroll data we examine, regulatory mandates thought to prevent H-1B visa holders from being paid less than U.S. citizens in similar roles are ineffective. In further tests, we find evidence that the hiring of H-1B visa holders has no or some small positive effect on the wages of peer U.S. citizen new hires (weakly indicative of complementarities or synergies), but no evidence of H-1B hiring driving down the wages for U.S. citizen peer new hires.
Keywords: Accounting Workforce, Skilled Immigration, H-1B Visa, Wage Gap
JEL Classification: J31, J38, J44, J48, J61, K37, M12, M40, M52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation