Working Paper

The impact of migration on earnings inequality


Abstract: This paper examines the impact of migration on earnings inequality using 1940?2015 data from the U.S. census and American Community Survey. Despite measurement challenges, I successfully replicate existing findings regarding national trends in earnings inequality and migration, and subsequently analyze regional and state patterns. Using 1940 birthplace information to instrument for migration, I find that recent immigration mildly increases the top decile earnings share, while recent in-migration and out-migration have no significant effects on such inequality. I estimate that immigration contributed 5.8 percent to the observed rise in U.S. earnings inequality from 1950 to 2015, primarily through a non-migrant channel.

Keywords: earnings inequality; migration;

JEL Classification: F22; D31; R23;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2018-08-01

Number: 19-5

Pages: 54 pages