Policy Challenges of Migration: Refugees and EVerify

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Sheraton Grand Chicago, Grant Park
Hosted By: Society of Government Economists
  • Chair: Madeline Zavodny, Agnes Scott College

The Labor Market Effects of a Refugee Wave: Synthetic Control Method Meets the Mariel Boatlift

Giovanni Peri
,
University of California-Davis
Vasil Yasenov
,
University of California-Davis

Abstract

We apply the synthetic control method to re-examine the wage and employment
effect of the Mariel Boatlift, a large inflow of Cuban refugees to Miami in 1980. This method improves on previous studies by choosing a control group for Miami so as to best match its labor market features in the eight years before the Boatlift. Given the presence of significant measurement error for average city wages we emphasize the importance of using the May-ORG CPS sample rather than the March-CPS. The first includes a more reliable measure of weekly wages, has larger sample size and smaller measurement error. Analyzing wages and unemployment rates we find no significant departure between Miami and its control between 1980 and 1983. Using the March-CPS data, however, one could find negative wage effects in small subsamples after 1979 as pointed out in George Borjas (2015a). However those estimates are imprecise and very sensitive to the choice of sample and of the outcome variable.

The Effects of State Work Eligibility Verification Laws on Labor Market Turnover

Pia Orrenius
,
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Madeline Zavodny
,
Agnes Scott College

Abstract

State laws requiring employers to verify workers’ employment eligibility may reduce employment and earnings among unauthorized workers and make it difficult for them to switch jobs. Using data from the 2005-2014 Quarterly Workforce Indicators, we find that the laws reduce employment among Hispanics and in several immigrant-intensive industries. The laws
also slightly boost average earnings among Hispanic and non-Hispanic workers. There is little evidence of changes in job turnover, however, with few significant effects on hiring or separation rates. This suggests that the laws' effects on job lock or labor market churn may be limited.

Internal and External Migration Patterns in the United States and the European Union: Some Policy Considerations

Amelie Constant
,
Princeton University

Abstract

The paper documents and evaluates the policies in the US and EU regarding legal and illegal migration and provides a review of outcomes to show the successes, challenges and unintended consequences of these policies. For the EU, the paper also analyzes internal migration in light of the EU enlargement, Brexit and the Schengen agreement. Refugee policies, unaccompanied children, deportations and new migration proposals are also analyzed.

Refugee Flows, Labor Mobility and Europe

Klaus Zimmermann
,
Harvard University, UNU-MERIT and Maastricht University

Abstract

The current trend in Europe is to regress to closed borders and trump the free mobility of EU peoples that is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty. In line with previous research, this paper argues that the European continent needs more labor migration and mobility. Moreover, the current refugee streams are neither economically problematic nor are they a solution to Europe's migrant needs. The paper outlines a strategy to reduce the causes of refugee flows and illegal economic migration including quotas for EU member states, a legal inflow of refugees and legal channels for work. Lastly, the paper compares the major migration challenges and policy options between the US and Europe.
Discussant(s)
Laura Argys
,
University of Colorado
Todd Sorensen
,
University of Nevada-Reno
Joseph Cordes
,
George Washington University
Madeline Zavodny
,
Agnes Scott College
JEL Classifications
  • J3 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
  • J6 - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers