The Impact of Migration on Earnings Inequality
54 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2019
Date Written: 2018-08-01
This paper examines the impact of migration on earnings inequality using 1940--2015 data from the U.S. census and American Community Survey. Despite measurement challenges, I successfully replicate existing findings regarding national trends in earnings inequality and migration, and subsequently analyze regional and state patterns. Using 1940 birthplace information to instrument for migration, I find that recent immigration mildly increases the top decile earnings share, while recent in-migration and out-migration have no significant effects on such inequality. I estimate that immigration contributed 5.8 percent to the observed rise in U.S. earnings inequality from 1950 to 2015, primarily through a non-migrant channel.
Keywords: migration, earnings inequality
JEL Classification: D31, F22, R23
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