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CEP discussion paper

Immigration, local crowd-out and undercoverage bias


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. My estimate is precise and robust to numerous specifications, as well as accounting for local dynamics; and I show how it can be reconciled with apparently conflicting results in the literature. Exploiting my model's structure, I attribute 30% of the observed effect to mismeasurement, specifically undercoverage of immigrants. Though labor demand does respond, population mobility accounts for 90% of local adjustment. These results have important implications for both structural and reduced form estimation of immigration effects.


Michael Amior

13 January 2020     Paper Number CEPDP1669

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Labour markets programme.