New evidence on Immigration. George Borjas is probably not very happy about
Is the New Immigration Really So Bad?
David Card, Department of Economics – UC Berkeley
This paper reviews the recent evidence on U.S. immigration, focusing on two
key questions: (1) Does immigration reduce the labor market opportunities of
less-skilled natives? (2) Have immigrants who arrived after the 1965
Immigration Reform Act successfully assimilated?
Looking across major cities, differential immigrant inflows are strongly
correlated with the relative supply of high school dropouts. Nevertheless,
data from the 2000 Census shows that relative wages of native dropouts are
uncorrelated with the relative supply of less-educated workers, as they were
in earlier years.
At the aggregate level, the wage gap between dropouts and high school
graduates has remained nearly constant since 1980, despite supply pressure
from immigration and the rise of other education-related wage gaps.
Overall, evidence that immigrants have harmed the opportunities of less
educated natives is scant. On the question of assimilation, the success of
the U.S.-born children of immigrants is a key yardstick. By this metric,
post-1965 immigrants are doing reasonably well: second generation sons and
daughters have higher education and wages than the children of natives. Even
children of the least educated immigrant origin groups have closed most of
the education gap with the children of natives.