The Impact of Immigration on Employment and Salaries of U.S. Citizens

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The Impact Of Immigration On Employment And Salaries Of U.S. Citizens

The Impact Of Immigration On Employment And Salaries Of U.S. Citizens

Abstract

In the interest of measuring the impact of immigration on the economy of the U.S, some authors have established that aliens lower the salaries of the residents, and increase the unemployment rates. Nevertheless, some studies have found that there is no evidence of the negative impact of immigrants on the salaries and work opportunities of the natives. In this sense, this research paper argues that (1) there is not complete evidence of the negative impact of immigration on the wages of the citizens; (2) immigrants complement the jobs left by the local workers, they do not replace them; and in addition to this they are creating job opportunities.

Introduction

In an effort to measure the impact of immigration on the economy of the U.S, some authors have established that immigrants depress the wages of the citizens, and increase the unemployment rates. Nevertheless, the mentioned researchers based their argument on the misconception that immigrants take the jobs from the citizens. In addition to this, some studies have found that there is no evidence of the negative impact of immigrants on the salaries and work opportunities of the natives. In this sense, through the review of literature about the topic, this research paper argues that (1) there is not complete evidence of the negative impact of immigration on the wages of U.S. citizens; (2) immigrants complement the jobs left by the local workers, they do not replace them; and additionally they are creating job opportunities.

Literature Review

One of the most frequently mentioned arguments about the economic impact of immigration is its negative effect on the rates of unemployment and salaries in the United States. Supporters of this argument assume that the alien workers are competing against local workers for jobs and since the aliens are disposed to accept inferior work conditions, the employers prefer them because this way they can reduce the costs and increase the profits. The consequence of this situation is that the immigrants are displacing the local workers, which increases the unemployment and decrease the wages in the U.S. (Borjas 2003; Carter & Sutch 2007). According to the analysis developed by Borjas (2003 p. 1370), “immigration lowers the wage of competing workers: a 10 percent in supply reduces the wages by 3 to 4 percent.” This author also points out that “college graduates saw wages fall 4.9 percent between 1980 and 2002 because of immigration” (Borjas 2003; Bolin p 2006). Hanson (2006 p. 8) also refers to the negative impact of immigration on the salaries of the natives by establishing that “illegal immigration (…) undercut the wages of our own poor.”

Regarding the immigration as a negative factor on the native employment opportunities, some analyses have indicated that immigrants are taking the jobs of the locals. Borjas (2003 p. 1370) argue that “immigration has substantially worsened the labor market opportunities faced by many native workers”, and concludes that there is a “sizable adverse effect of immigration on native employment opportunities”. Approaches like these implies that the local workers are replaceable which means that the aliens arrive to replace the natives.

Findings and Arguments

The first study that shows that there is not enough evidence to support a considerable negative impact of the immigration on the wages of the residents ca ca n be found in the arguments of Friedberg and Hunt (1995 p. 42) which indicate that “Despite the popular belief that immigrants have adverse impact on the wages and employment opportunities of the native-born population, the literature on this question does not provide much support for this conclusion (…) the effect of immigration on the labor market outcomes of natives is small. (…) Most empirical...
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