Wretched refuse

Kevin Lewis

August 16, 2019

Unwelcome Guests? The Effects of Refugees on the Educational Outcomes of Incumbent Students
David Figlio & Umut Özek
Journal of Labor Economics, forthcoming

A point of contention in the refugee crisis involves possible adverse effects on host communities associated with poor, low-skilled migrants with low host-community language knowledge. We use unique matched birth and schooling records to examine the effects of a large influx of poor, non-English-speaking Haitian migrants into Florida public schools immediately following the devastating 2010 earthquake. We find zero or modestly positive estimated effects of these migrants on the educational outcomes of incumbent students in the year of the earthquake or in the 2 years that follow, regardless of the socioeconomic status, grade level, ethnicity, or birthplace of incumbent students.

Immigrants' Deportations, Local Crime and Police Effectiveness
Annie Laurie Hines & Giovanni Peri
University of California Working Paper, June 2019

This paper analyzes the impact of immigrant deportations on local crime and police efficiency. Our identification relies on increases in the deportation rate driven by the introduction of the Secure Communities (SC) program, an immigration enforcement program based on local-federal cooperation which was rolled out across counties between 2008 and 2013. We instrument for the deportation rate by interacting the introduction of SC with the local presence of likely undocumented in 2005, prior to the introduction of SC. We document a surge in local deportation rates under SC, and we show that deportations increased the most in counties with a large undocumented population. We find that SC-driven increases in deportation rates did not reduce crime rates for violent offenses or property offenses. Our estimates are small and precise, so we can rule out meaningful effects. We do not find evidence that SC increased either police effectiveness in solving crimes or local police resources. Finally, we do not find effects of deportations on the local employment of unskilled citizens or on local firm creation.

Minimum wages and the labor market effects of immigration
Anthony Edo & Hillel Rapoport
Labour Economics, forthcoming

This paper exploits the non-linearity in the level of minimum wages across U.S. States created by the coexistence of federal and state regulations to investigate the labor market effects of immigration. We find that the impact of immigration on the wages and employment of native workers within a given state-skill cell is more negative in States with low minimum wages and for workers with low education and experience. That is, the minimum wage tends to protect native workers from competition induced by low-skill immigration. The results are robust to instrumenting immigration and state effective minimum wages, and to implementing a difference-in-differences approach comparing States where effective minimum wages are fully determined by the federal minimum wage to States where this is never the case.

Fenced Out: Why Rising Migration Costs Matter
Benjamin Feigenberg
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

This paper estimates the impact of the U.S.-Mexico border fence on U.S.-Mexico migration by exploiting variation in the timing of U.S. government investment in fence construction. Using Mexican household survey data and data I collected on fence construction, I find that construction in a given municipality reduces migration by 29% from that municipality and by 15% from adjacent municipalities. I also find that construction reduces migration from non-border municipalities by 32%. I employ a standard migration selection model to rationalize evidence that the fence disproportionately deters low-skilled migrants. The estimated cost of the fence per migrant deterred is $2,850 USD.

Sweet Casa Alabama (and Arizona, and...): Examining the Economic Outcomes of State Immigration Reform
Collin Hansen
Federal Trade Commission Working Paper, April 2019

This paper looks at the labor market impacts of two frequently implemented state immigration policies that target undocumented immigrants: E-Verify and “Show Me Your Papers” (SMYP). I find that immigration reform reduces employment and hourly wages among undocumented men but has few if any benefits for the low-skilled workers with whom undocumented immigrants are most likely to compete for jobs. I also show that immigration reform has a large, negative impact on state GDP, especially in industries that rely more heavily on undocumented workers.

All that glitters is not gold: Wages and education for US immigrants
Simone Bertoli & Steven Stillman
Labour Economics, forthcoming

Many destination countries consider implementing points-based migration systems as a way to improve migrants’ quality, but our understanding of the actual effects of selective policies is limited. We use data from the ACS 2001-2017 to analyze the overlap in the wage distribution of low- and high-educated recent migrants from different origins after controlling for other observable characteristics. When we randomly match a high- with a low-educated immigrant from the same country, more than one-quarter of time the low-educated immigrant has a higher hourly wage, notwithstanding a statistically significant difference in the mean wage of the two groups for most origins. For 98 out of 114 countries, this synthetic measure of the overlap in the two wage distributions stands above the corresponding figure for natives. We also find that at least 82 percent of the variance in log wages for migrants with a given number of years of schooling is due to differences within rather than across countries. This suggests that heavily relying on education to select immigrants might fail to markedly improve their quality.

An inquiry on the impact of highly-skilled STEM immigration on the U.S. economy
Christian Gunadi
Labour Economics, forthcoming

This article estimates the potential economic benefits of STEM immigration and examines the impact of highly skilled STEM immigration on the wage structure in the United States. Considering that foreign-born share of STEM workers has been increasing rapidly in recent years, there are new interests in examining the extent to which labor market outcomes of natives – and immigrants alike – are affected by this supply inflow. The analysis yields a few main findings. First, U.S. and foreign-born STEM workers with similar skills have a high but finite elasticity of substitution (∼18), implying that the adverse impact of STEM immigration would be more concentrated among immigrant STEM workers themselves. Second, 2000-2015 foreign STEM labor supply shock increases the average wage of preexisting U.S.-born STEM workers by 4.67 percent. This finding, however, masks a distributional consequence of the shock as native STEM workers with higher educational attainment experience lower wage gains. Finally, the economic benefit for native workers from 2000-2015 foreign STEM supply shock is approximately 103 billion USD or 1.03% of U.S. GDP in 1999. Almost all of this benefit comes from the productivity spillovers associated with high-skilled STEM immigration that increase the productivity and wages of U.S.-born workers.

Effects of State Education Benefits: Evidence from Tuition Subsidies to Undocumented Students
Anomita Ghosh
University of Illinois Working Paper, March 2019

Since 2001, twenty-two US states have allowed resident tuition rates for undocumented students in public colleges. This paper looks at how the resident tuition policy affects intended and unintended education outcomes of various groups of students. I use a difference-in-differences design, exploiting state-time variation in these policies. I find likely undocumented students are 3.9 percentage points (base mean 19%) more probable to attend college and 3.2 percentage points (base mean 12%) more likely to graduate in treated states. The enrollment effects seem to be driven by higher enrollment of these students in less selective community colleges. Results also reveal that the policy caused undocumented youth to be 4.2 percentage points (base mean 23%) less likely to remain inactive in treated states. Furthermore, the policy also increases the number of college years completed for these unauthorised immigrants. There does not appear to be substantial migration of likely undocumented students to the treated states to take advantage of the policy. There is little evidence of adverse spillover effects of this policy on foreign born citizens or US natives in treated states. These results are robust to a variety of specifications. They are also supported by evidence from two unique nationally representative datasets. However, my results suggest that some public colleges seem to increase tuition rates for students in response to the policy. Thus, there appears to be mixed evidence on unintended effects of the policy. Overall, this study sheds light on the costs and benefits of state level education price shocks.

Why foreign STEM PhDs are unlikely to work for US technology startups
Michael Roach & John Skrentny
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Visa policies to retain United States-trained STEM PhDs are of central importance to national innovation and economic competitiveness. There is also growing interest in “startup” visas that stimulate entrepreneurial activity and job creation, particularly in technology sectors. However, there is little understanding of how visa policies might influence foreign PhDs’ employment in technology startups. This study investigates differences between 2,324 foreign and US PhDs from US research universities using a longitudinal survey of individuals’ preferences and characteristics during graduate school and their subsequent employment in a startup or established firm. Among PhDs whose first job is industrial research & development, 15.8% of US PhDs work in a startup compared with 6.8% of foreign PhDs. Foreign PhDs are as likely as US PhDs to apply to and receive offers for startup jobs, but conditional on receiving an offer, they are 56% less likely to work in a startup. This disparity is partially explained by differences in visa sponsorship between startups and established firms and not by foreign PhDs’ preferences for established firm jobs, risk tolerance, or preference for higher pay. Foreign PhDs who first work in an established firm and subsequently receive a green card are more likely to move to a startup than another established firm, suggesting that permanent residency facilitates startup employment. These findings suggest that US visa policies may deter foreign PhDs from working in startups, thereby restricting startups’ access to a large segment of the STEM PhD workforce and impairing startups’ ability to contribute to innovation and economic growth.

Trial by Skype: A causality-oriented replication exploring the use of remote video adjudication in immigration removal proceedings
Dane Thorley & Joshua Mitts
International Review of Law and Economics, September 2019, Pages 82-97

In this article we present a replication of Ingrid Eagly’s 2015 empirical study on the use of remote video adjudication in immigration removal hearings. Eagly’s original study found that respondents who appear before judges via video feed fare significantly worse than those who appear in person. Our replication takes a three-tiered approach. First, we conduct a base-level reproduction of Eagly’s original empirical study using a reconstruction of her dataset and the same methodological approaches featured in her analysis. Second, we replicate Eagly’s data-cleaning and empirical analysis on a newer and larger removal dataset. Lastly, we conduct an expanded replication of her study using data-cleaning and methodological approaches that more fully consider the assumptions required to make identifiable causal claims in this procedural arena. Although our replications produce results that vary in magnitude with Eagly’s original results, the overall findings support her conclusion that the use of remote video adjudication disadvantages respondents at both the procedural and final stages of their removal hearings.

Climate shock: Moving to colder climates and immigrant mortality
Eran Shor & David Roelfs
Social Science & Medicine, forthcoming

Research shows that immigrants often have lower mortality rates than native-born residents in their countries of destination. However, it is unclear whether this mortality advantage holds for all immigrant groups. Specifically, considering the epidemiological research on the potential negative health effects of cold weather, we examine here whether relative mortality is moderated by differences in climate between origin and destination countries. We conducted a meta-regression analysis on 890 rate ratios from 55 publications, comparing all-cause and cardiovascular mortality of immigrants from 70 different countries and native populations in 12 destination countries. We found that immigrants who move between countries with a relatively similar climate experience a mortality advantage. However, those who move from a warmer to a colder climate do not. In fact, they have higher cardiovascular mortality rates when compared to the native population.

Do immigrants import terrorism?
Andrew Forrester et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

The relationship between immigration and terrorism is an important public policy concern. Using bilateral migration data for 170 countries from 1990 to 2015, we estimate the relationship between levels of immigration and terrorism using an instrumental variables (IV) strategy based on the decades prior stocks of immigrants in destination countries. We specifically investigate rates of immigration from Muslim majority countries and countries involved in armed conflicts. We find no relationship between immigration and terrorism, whether measured by the number of attacks or victims, in destination countries.

Immigrants move where their skills are scarce: Evidence from English proficiency
Ainoa Aparicio Fenoll & Zoë Kuehn
Labour Economics, forthcoming

This paper studies whether individuals tend to migrate to countries where their skills are scarce or abundant. Focusing on English language skills, we test whether immigrants who are proficient in English choose to move to countries where many or few individuals speak English. We use the introduction of English classes into compulsory school curricula as an exogenous determinant for English proficiency of migrants of different ages, and we consider cohort data on migration among 29 European countries, where English is not the official language and where labor mobility is essentially free. Our estimation strategy consists of refined comparisons of cohorts, and we control for all variables traditionally included in international migration models. We find that immigrants who are proficient in English move to countries where fewer individuals speak English, and where hence their skills are scarce. We also show that similar results hold for general skills.

Tightened Immigration Policies and the Self‐Employment Dynamics of Mexican Immigrants
Chunbei Wang
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

As the U.S. government has intensified its crackdown on illegal immigration in recent years, an important question to ask is how undocumented immigrants react to the stricter enforcement of immigration laws. This paper seeks to answer whether they increasingly choose self‐employment in an effort to avoid apprehension and subsequent deportation. To guard against endogeneity bias that might stem from increased enforcement in reaction to illegal immigration, the empirical analysis makes use of the September 11 terror attacks (9/11), which inadvertently triggered stricter immigration enforcement nationwide, as a natural experiment. Using a difference‐in‐differences approach and data from the Current Population Survey between 1996 and 2006, this paper examines the changes in the self‐employment choices of male and non‐citizen Mexican immigrants (a proxy for undocumented immigrants) compared to less‐educated Whites (the control group). The findings indicate that male and non‐citizen Mexican immigrants are substantially more likely (40 percent) to enter into self‐employment than less‐educated Whites after 9/11. The analysis further suggests that this finding is not driven by the 2001 recession that coincided with the terror attacks. The increased entries are mainly observed in the group that is most likely to be in the United States illegally and in those who face strong economic incentives. In addition, increased entries are not driven by increased unemployment among Mexican immigrants after the 9/11 event, but, rather, they reflect a change in the behavior of the unemployed Mexican immigrants, perhaps due to changes in perceived risks of detection and deportation.

Is the Cure a Wall? Behavioral Immune System Responses to a Disease Metaphor for Immigration
Mitch Brown et al.
Evolutionary Psychological Science, September 2019, Pages 343–356

Humans have evolved a capability to identify and subsequently avoid communicable pathogens. The current research tested whether activation of this system can be co-opted by disease metaphors, which frame abstract social issues as concrete disease risks. We predicted that language framing immigration as a disease would elicit heightened anti-immigration attitudes and greater support for restrictive social policies (study 1), tested whether this effect was moderated by pathogen concern (study 2), and compared aversion to disease metaphors with concerns of literal disease (study 3). We identified conditions under which the disease framing generally produced more anti-immigrant attitudes, particularly among individuals with stronger chronic disease concerns. Furthermore, we also identified boundary conditions for such effects, such that disease metaphors demonstrated limited efficacy in the presence of a literal disease threat. We explain these results at the intersection of evolutionary and conceptual metaphor theories.

The Not-So-Hot Melting Pot: The Persistence of Outcomes for Descendants of the Age of Mass Migration
Zachary Ward
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, forthcoming

How persistent are economic gaps across ethnicities? The convergence of ethnic gaps through the third generation of immigrants is difficult to measure because few datasets include grandparental birthplace. I overcome this limitation with a new three-generational dataset that links immigrant grandfathers in 1880 to their grandsons in 1940. I find that the persistence of ethnic gaps in occupational income is 2.5 times stronger than predicted by a standard grandfather-grandson elasticity. While part of the discrepancy is due to measurement error attenuating the grandfather-grandson elasticity, mechanisms related to geography also partially explain the stronger persistence of ethnic occupational differentials.

“Illegal” by Association: Do Negative Stereotypes Divide or Unite Latinxs in the United States?
Jesús Serrano‐Careaga & Yuen Huo
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, forthcoming

In current American political discourse, individuals tend to mistakenly conflate being an undocumented immigrant with being Latinx. This conflation puts Latinxs who are legal residents or citizens (Latinx‐Americans) at risk of being negatively impacted by policies intended to deter undocumented immigrants. We examine whether being the target of anti‐immigration policies would lead Latinx‐Americans to politically engage on behalf of undocumented immigrants. Study 1 found that when Latinx‐Americans were led to believe that what happens to undocumented immigrants will affect them personally (linked fate), those who were primed with greater conflation of the two groups expressed more positive attitudes toward undocumented immigrants and other Latinxs. Study 2 found that this pattern of effects extended to the willingness to engage in collective action on behalf of undocumented immigrants. Study 2 also examined the role of emotions (anger and fear) in mediating the relationship between the conflation of Latinxs with undocumented immigrants and collective action intentions. Together, the findings shed light on how current immigration policies affect relations among key subgroups within the Latinx community and the conditions under which Latinx‐Americans will mobilize on behalf of undocumented immigrants.


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