The Labor Market Is Not Zero Sum: EPI, Immigration, & Labor Market Misconceptions

Ross Eisenbrey had an NYT op-ed this week on immigration in which he said:

“Bringing over more — there are already 500,000 workers on H-1B visas — would obviously darken job prospects for America’s struggling young scientists and engineers. But it would also hurt our efforts to produce more: if the message to American students is, “Don’t bother working hard for a high-tech degree, because we can import someone to do the job for less,” we could do significant long-term damage to the high-tech educational system we value so dearly.”

This assertion is not only far from obvious, but it is also likely to be wrong. The recent Peri et al paper I’ve been posting about recently provides  good evidence that increased high-skilled immigration helps improve labor market outcomes for high-skilled natives. For instance, they find that an influx of STEM workers of 1% of total employment raises the wages of college educated workers (both STEM and non-STEM) by 4-6%.


About ozidar

I'm an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Faculty Research Fellow at National Bureau of Economic Research. You can follow me on twitter @omzidar.
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