Migration Impact Assessment

Migration Impact Assessment

New Horizons

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by Peter Nijkamp, Jacques Poot and Mediha Sahin

During the last few decades the world has experienced an unprecedented level of cross-border migration. While this has generated significant socio-economic gains for host countries, as well as sometimes for the countries of origin, the costs and benefits involved are unevenly distributed. Consequently, growing global population mobility is a hotly debated topic, both in the political arena and by the general public. Amidst a plethora of facts, opinions and emotions, the assessment of migration impacts must be grounded in a solid scientific evidence base. This analytical book outlines and applies a range of the scientific methods that are currently available in migration impact assessment (MIA). The book provides various North American and European case studies that quantify socio-economic consequences of migration for host societies and for immigrants themselves.

Chapter 2: The local US labour market impacts of low-skilled migration from Mexico*

Paul S. Davies, Michael J. Greenwood, Gary L. Hunt, Ulrich Kohli and Marta Tienda

Subjects: development studies, migration, economics and finance, regional economics, valuation, politics and public policy, migration, public policy, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration, regional economics


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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