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Views from the Center

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The Economic Research Shows Drastic Cuts to Legal Immigration Are a Lose-Lose for the United States and the World

A report released recently suggests that two conservative senators are working on a plan to “dramatically scale back legal immigration,” reducing the one million immigrants who legally enter the country to about half that in ten years. Economic research time and again has shown that drastic cuts to legal immigration would be a lose-lose proposal for both the United States and global economy.

Labor Mobility and Wages of the Rich Country Poor, Part One: Analysis and Implications of the Mariel Boatlift

George Borjas has a 2015 paper on the Mariel boatlift experience arguing that, although the large and rapid influx of migrants did not affect average wages or low-skill wages, a small, demographically arbitrary, group experienced large negative wage impacts. In this blog post I want to address two technical points about this finding and then address more conceptual points about the policy implications of this general type of finding of distributional impacts in Part Two.

What Economists Can Learn from the Mariel Boatlift, Part Two: Answering Questions about Our Research

Last week I blogged about a research discovery. An influential study had found that a 1980 wave of Cuban refugees into Miami, known as the Mariel Boatlift, had caused the wages of workers there to fall dramatically. In a new paper co-released by CGD and the National Bureau of Economic Research, my co-author and I revealed that large shifts in the racial composition of the underlying survey data could explain most or all of the same fall in wages. The author of the previous study, George Borjas, raised two substantive questions about our research, which I answer briefly in this post.