Mexicans, Cubans, Indians—and the Impacts of Immigrants on US Wages – Podcast with Michael Clemens and Gaurav Khanna

August 08, 2017

Today on the CGD podcast: Mexicans, Cubans, and Indians and their impact on the wages of US workers, courtesy of our experts Michael Clemens and Gaurav Khanna.

Drawing from the findings of his new paper on high-skilled IT workers, Khanna says, "The H-1B visa program has played a role in the expansion of the IT sector in India and in the US, and these productivity gains have made peoples' lives better off in many ways."

Meanwhile, Clemens has published extensively on whether low-skilled immigrants lower the wages of US workers. "The reason that women could enter the labor force from 14 percent to 75 percent over the course of the 20th Century and there not be a third of men out of work," he says, "is because firms in the economy adjusted to take advantage of that new labor. The only question is how long did that adjustment take?"

Between them, Clemens and Khanna look at high- and low-skilled workers from three countries across several decades. Different studies, different perspectives—but all pointing at the same thing: immigrants have an overwhelmingly net positive effect on the US economy.


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.