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CEP Discussion Paper
Immigration, Local Crowd-Out and Undercoverage Bias
Michael Amior
January 2020
Paper No' CEPDP1669:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: J61; J64; R23

Tags: immigration; geographical mobility; local labor markets; employment

Using decadal census data since 1960, I cannot reject the hypothesis that new immigrants crowd out existing residents from US commuting zones and states one-for-one. The effect is entirely driven by a reduction in internal inflows rather than larger outflows. My estimate is precise and robust to numerous specifications, as well as accounting for local dynamics - and I show how it can reconciled with apparently conflicting results in the literature. On imposing more structure, I attribute about 30 percent of the observed effect to mismeasurement - specifically undercoverage of undocumented migrants. Though labor demand does respond, the burden of adjustment falls mostly on population. These results have important methodological implications for the estimation and interpretation of the impact of immigration, both locally and nationally.