Journal Article

Immigration and labour-market outcomes in the United States: a political-economy puzzle

N Gaston and D Nelson

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 16, issue 3, pages 104-114
Published in print September 2000 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online September 2000 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/16.3.104
Immigration and labour-market outcomes in the United States: a political-economy puzzle

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Based on a larger survey of the literature (Gaston and Nelson, 2000), this paper argues: (i) that econometric research uniformly finds very small labour-market effects of immigration; (ii) that labour and trade economists have differed in their interpretation of this finding; and (iii) that this difference is driven exclusively by different dimensionality assumptions (with labour economists preferring a 1-sector x m-factor model and trade economists an n-sector x m-factor model). It is then argued that the trade economists' model, along with its presumption of factor-price insensitivity to immigration is the more useful as a presumption generator. The paper concludes with a discussion of the political-economy implications of these results.

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Subjects: Economic Development and Growth ; Public Economics ; Political Economy ; Public Policy

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