Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

Abstract of the Week

Jack Strauss has a paper showing that influxes of Latin American immigrants into a city lead to higher wages and lower poverty for black residents.

This paper evaluates the impact of immigration on African American wages, unemployment, employment and incarceration rates using a relatively large cross-sectional data-set of 900 cities. An endemic problem potentially plaguing the cross-sectional metro approach to immigration has been endogeneity. Does increased immigration to a city lead to improved economic outcomes, or does a city’s improving labor market attract immigrant inflows? The paper focuses on resolving the endogeneity concerns through a variety of controls, statistical methods and tests. Overall, results strongly support one-way causation from increased immigration including Latinos to higher African American wages and lower poverty. Rising immigration including from Latin America is not responsible for higher Black incarceration rates.

Matthew Yglesias: “In other words, complementarities dominate. The marginal working-class black person in the United States has a different employment profile than the marginal Latin American immigrant, and so the more immigrants you have, the more economic opportunities exist locally for black people.”

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