Immigration and the Wages of Native Workers: Spatial versus Occupational Approaches
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Using data from the Current Population Survey, we study the impact of the increasing proportion of immigrants on the wages of native workers. Two different approaches are contrasted. The most common method has been the spatial approach that uses some geographic unit of analysis to investigate the multivariate association between the proportion of immigrants and the ages of native workers. Previous studies using the spatial approach have generally found little evidence of a significant negative effect. We propose, however, a contrasting method that represents an occupational approach in which occupations are the unit of analysis to investigate the impact of the proportion immigrant. This occupational approach avoids the bias that is inherent in the spatial approach due to the endogenous nature of immigrants’ decisions about where to reside and the economic opportunities of local areas. In contrast to the spatial approach, our results using the same data but employing the occupational approach yield consistently negative net effects of the proportion immigrant on the wages of native workers during the period from 1994 to 2006. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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