Saturday, May 20, 2006

Highest-earning Mexicans come to the U.S.; wages of those who stay rise

This from a paper from NBER, "Immigration, Labor Supply, and Earnings in Mexico," Gordon Hanson.

Now 8.6% of Mexicans (born in Mexico) live in the U.S., and this has been steadily rising. This outflow puts upward pressure on those remaining in Mexico: as supply declines, demand for workers goes up. The estimate is that real wages have risen 8% in the past 30 years solely because of outmigration.

But this effect is most pronounced for those with the most education (high school and above): they are the most likely to leave for America, or, if they remain behind, are the biggest wage-gainers. Also, immigration is very region-specific, and, oddly, it's not the areas along the border that contribute most to legal and illegal immigration: it's central Mexican states that are a thousand km from the border--Zacateca, Michoaca, Guanajua. Furthermore, native-born American wages are only weakly correlated with immigrant inflows, so migration probably has little effect on the U.S. wage structure. However, the author puts the decrease in average wages at about 3%: if this hits predominantly poor Americans, this might be a significant effect. Unclear. More to come.


Blogger Gante said...

See when I read highest-earning Mexicans come to the US, I'm thinking doctors, professionals, you know, non-agriculturalists. Zacateca and the others though are not, from what I've read, the sorts of places where "top half of wage earners" means a whole lot.

The pedigree of immigrants is probably not what you're pushing here, more the beneficial effects to the regions of high migration. But, anyways, these were my thoughts. Maybe I should read the study a bit more but I thought you might have an can correct my misperceptions.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Gante said...

I guess it's very ignorant to think that we're going to get professionals or anyone of that nature. That was a silly idea. But...reading that a state is almost exclusively agricultural, has substandard social indicators and that it's economy has been growing at a rate slower than the rest of doesn't give me that warm feeling about the highest-earning Mexicans coming from there.

5:15 PM  

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