New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Peter Nijkamp, Jacques Poot and Mediha Sahin
Chapter 2: The local US labour market impacts of low-skilled migration from Mexico*
Although in recent years a growing body of literature has focused on the economic effects of US immigration (Borjas, 1994; Greenwood and McDowell, 1986; LaLonde and Topel, 1991; and Smith and Edmonston, 1997), little research has dealt directly with the migrant group from Mexico. An example of this gap is a study of the economic consequences of US immigration by the National Academy of Sciences (Smith and Edmonston, 1997) that makes only passing reference to the Mexico-born population. By estimating the US employment and wage effects of this population, the present study takes a step toward filling this research gap. Four distinctive characteristics of Mexican migrants to the United States have implications for the nature and magnitude of their labour market impacts. First, the sheer volume of the migration flow and the size of the Mexico-born population in the United States set this foreign-born group apart. Second, a large share of the undocumented population is of Mexican origin. Third, the Mexico-born population in the United States has low education levels, which although improving have not kept pace with those of the US population. Fourth, the Mexico-born population is highly concentrated in the south-west and in several large cities.
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