Immigration and American Jobs

The title of this post is the title of a paper by Madeline Zavodny.  In the paper, Zavodny tests  to see if immigrants, especially educated immigrants, create jobs for resident Americans or take jobs away from them.  She finds big positive impacts.  That is, her work indicates that educated immigrants create jobs for resident Americans.  Among her findings:

  • An additional 100 foreign-born workers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields with advanced degrees from US universities is associated with an additional 262 jobs.
  • Adding 100 H-2B (temporary less-skilled non-agriculture) workers results in an additional 464 jobs for US natives.

These are big numbers and imply that huge gains are available from policy changes.  I believe that huge gains are available from policy changes, particularly increased immigration.   I have a tough time buying these estimates though.  They seem to have too-high employment multipliers.

Zavodny uses two stage least squares (2SLS) to estimate her multipliers.  This is a method of dealing with what we call the endogeneity problem.  That is, jobs may cause immigration rather than immigration causing jobs.  The method is standard operating procedure, but it depends critically on the selection of what we call an instrumental variable.  I think there may be room for more research here.

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