Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date


JEL Codes

F22, J24, J61, J31

Working Paper Number



Studies estimating the consequences of immigration on wages paid to native-born workers often uncover small to nonexistent effects when using cross city or state variation (the “spatial approach”) but large deleterious effects when using variation across education-by-experience cells (the “national approach”). One mechanism of labor market adjustment emphasized in the spatial approach is that native-born workers respond to immigration by specializing in occupations demanding skills in which they have a comparative advantage, thereby helping to protect themselves from labor market competition and wage losses. This paper examines whether the national approach also identifies this skill response. We find evidence that such a response does occur, which reduced the magnitude of within-cell wage effects by more than 20%.

Included in

Economics Commons