Rethinking the Effects of Immigration on Wages

54 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2006  

Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano

Bocconi University - Department of Economics and Paolo Baffi Centre on Central Banking and Financial Regulation

Giovanni Peri

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2006

Abstract

This paper asks the following question: what was the effect of surging immigration on average and individual wages of U.S.-born workers during the period 1990-2004? We emphasize the need for a general equilibrium approach to analyze this problem. The impact of immigrants on wages of U.S.-born workers can be evaluated only by accounting carefully for labor market and capital market interactions in production. Using such a general equilibrium approach we estimate that immigrants are imperfect substitutes for U.S.- born workers within the same education-experience-gender group (because they choose different occupations and have different skills). Moreover, accounting for a reasonable speed of adjustment of physical capital we show that most of the wage effects of immigration accrue to native workers within a decade. These two facts imply a positive and significant effect of the 1990-2004 immigration on the average wage of U.S.-born workers overall, both in the short run and in the long run. This positive effect results from averaging a positive effect on wages of U.S.-born workers with at least a high school degree and a small negative effect on wages of U.S.-born workers with no high school degree.

Suggested Citation

Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. and Peri, Giovanni, Rethinking the Effects of Immigration on Wages (August 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12497. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=927381

Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano

Bocconi University - Department of Economics and Paolo Baffi Centre on Central Banking and Financial Regulation ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

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)

Paper statistics

Downloads
346
Rank
70,597
Abstract Views
5,662