Migration and the Employment and Wages of Native and Immigrant Workers
F. W. Wilson
This paper assesses the association between migration (both international and internal) and the employment status and earnings of young noncollege-educated native white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and immigrant white-collar and blue-collar workers in the United States during the decade from 1980 to 1990. We seek to determine (1) whether internal and/or international migration contributed to the increased joblessness observed for blacks, Asians, and Hispanics in the 1980s, particularly among males, and (2) whether migration contributed to the decline in the hourly wages of both native and immigrant workers in the 1980s. We present results which only partly support the claim that internal migrants and immigrants are substitutes for native workers. On the one hand, we find that migration (flow) was not a major factor associated with the increased joblessness and decreased wages experienced by some native groups during the 1980s, particularly among blue-collar workers. On the other hand, we do find that changes in the foreign-born composition of an industrial sector (a measure of immigrant stock) were associated with increased joblessness of native workers and decreased joblessness of immigrant workers.
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