OTEpc #7: Inclusive immigration policies

April 18th, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Episode #7 of the On the Economy podcast, on the fiscal and economic impacts of immigration, is yours for the clicking. Our guests–Erica Williams and Meg Wiehe, take us through their timely, important research about the benefits of inclusive immigration policies for unauthorized immigrants. And violinist virtuoso Hilary Hahn “joins” us (I can dream, can’t I?) to crush a cadenza.

Enjoy, and feel free to submit questions to otepodcast@gmail.com.


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9 comments in reply to "OTEpc #7: Inclusive immigration policies"

  1. Kevin Rica says:

    That’s why the Dems lost the election. Voters realized that the Dems were more concerned about “the benefits of inclusive immigration policies for unauthorized immigrants” than they were about the well-being of voters.

  2. Smith says:

    Ok, this is why Trump is president. I favor immigration, but when the there is already an extra 1 million workers stuck in U6 and 2 million prime age workers who’ve dropped out of the labor force altogether, you have to be stupid not to realize immigrants willing to work for lower wages take jobs away from U.S. citizens and depress the wages of everyone.

    If you just took the time to read just one of the foundational papers by David Card, and how he defined substitution, you would understand all the literature is garbage. The equation uses differences in wages to establish labor segments are not substitutable. This would be laughable if it were not for the fact policy is being decided based on a craziness, stupidity, or fraud. Do you really think if Joe is getting paid X amount of dollars and a new immigrant worker is paid less that this signifies they are filling different labor markets and there is no competition? And that’s without considering DNWR (downward nominal wage rigidities)

    The links you provided link to another paper that further makes the case for less substitution by carving out exceptions for less than high school to lump them in with high school grads, and also claim their English speaking skills separate them. Even with all this totally illogical, lazy, intellectually dishonest, if not fraudulent methodology, they still find a nearly 3% drop in wages for low income men in California.

    Next, you might at least address the fact that a significant portion of immigrant labor are officially temporary workers and dependent on employer sponsorship, they can be dismissed for any or no reason, and would thus face deportation. They don’t have labor rights, they can’t bargain, organize, strike, and this depresses wages further. The same number of immigrants could be admitted each year into the U.S., but with full labor rights and not requiring employer sponsorship.

    Trump is nutty racist in that he calls immigrants more dangerous than average Americans. No. What they are usually are hard working law abiding ambitious employees willing to work for less because they come from poorer countries, or they recognize accepting lower wages compensates for their less proficient language skills, cultural distance, or helps overcome discrimination. This has always been true and it’s common sense.

    When the economy is already slumping, people have less reason to put up with a system that seeks to hire the lowest paid worker, outside the U.S. or inside.

    Until you address the flaw in Card’s equation, you have no right to talk about immigration’s effect on wages or unemployment in a depressed economy.

    • Smith says:

      Also, drop in the bucket arguments don’t wash. Yes we get only 1 million immigrants per year, with a 66% workforce participation, so yes 1/2 a percent of the workforce. But with our fairly robust job growth of 180,000 producing 2,000,000 new jobs a year, they account for 30% of all new job seekers. Hardly a drop in the bucket. They are a very important part of keeping our economy growing, but because of that outsized role in growth, gives them an outsized effect on wages.

      Again, not rocket science. Plus this is concentrated in specific regions, lower incomes, and less education, with the exception of high skills in STEM fields (no surprise, they require less language skills, not two mention the engineering prowess of the two most populous countries in the world, neither of which are close to developed world standards of living).

      Immigrants earn on average 80 percent of the wages of U.S. citizens.

      They comprise 16.7 percent of the workforce (1 in 6 ). Not a drop in the bucket. Full employment first, don’t try to defend increased immigration. Work to protect and defend and grant labor rights to the current inflow. You really wouldn’t trade amnesty for a wall? (not that it’s being offered).

    • Kevin Rica says:

      War is peace, Ignorance is strength, Freedom is slavery, and Imperfect substitutes are complements!

      By the logic of this immigration literature, the world should be flat. After all, the Earth is an imperfect sphere. Therefore it is a cube. And a cube has six flat sides, so the world is flat.

      In some ways what is worse about Card’s work is that it is the bottom of an inverted pyramid of “me too” articles that just cite Card to repeat his conclusions. They can’t buttress his work, they just cite it to avoid having to independently justify the same conclusion. Then of course,

      • Smith says:

        But I only looked at the equation because the conclusion defied common sense. Plus there was first hand knowledge how things work at all levels of skills, in many environments. There was also data that seemed to contradict the arguments against a small effect. I was forced to read the paper and look up what each variable meant. Before the internet, it would be hard or impossible to get (maybe from university library) Also in this case the math was simple which is not always the case.
        To be clear, I favor immigration but not exploitation of immigrant labor without full labor rights and independence, not increased immigration in a recession, not eliminating the diversity lottery, not favoring the Democrats plans to greatly expand high skills employer sponsored (read exploited) immigrant labor in all their so called reform bills.
        All workers need to be completely free, always.

  3. Smith says:

    Low skills:
    High skills:

    Both Borjas and Matloff are academics who have consistently argued for effects of immigration that contradict the conventional wisdom supported by David Card’s oft repeated and cited studies. However, they have addressed papers that make opposite claims, even Matloff in the EPI report (which is obviously not a peer reviewed journal) pointing to flaws in papers with different conclusions.
    And that’s without showing the obvious flaw, illogical methodology, and effective tautology or circular reasoning in Card’s equation. Wage difference is not a proxy for non substitution. Instead it’s obvious evidence of an effect of substitution. Wage stagnation and DNWR are consistent and support this common sense view. But you’d have to read the paper and look at the equation to confirm this. It’s not rocket science.
    On both sides of the arguments, there is obviously an agenda, a preconception of the anticipated outcome, but this can also be looked at benignly as the “hypothesis”. Barjas also has done studies on immigration and PhDs.

    Not really in the same category for validity but noted here for completeness, there’s also a Glassdoor study (online) for STEM with some interesting data, however flawed, even in supporting a slightly higher salary for H1B visa workers, shows a lower salary for the two biggest categories of Software Engineers and Software Analysts (offset by managers, professors, and analysts in higher income positions earning more). Glassdoor showed 2.8% higher salaries overall for H1Bs, but Glassdoor reporting is hardly a random sample, as the H1B salaries were “compared them to similar U.S. salaries reported on Glassdoor” Program Managers and Project Managers accounted for higher salaries of H1Bs, unless the higher paid managers were not reporting with the same frequency.

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