Sunday, October 31, 2010

How Immigrants Create More Jobs

Economist Tyler Cowen writes in the N.Y. Times that "the continuing arrival of immigrants to American shores is encouraging business activity here, thereby producing more jobs, according to a new study. Its authors argue that the easier it is to find cheap immigrant labor at home, the less likely that production will relocate offshore."  The study is "Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs" and is authored by  Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano (Bocconi University, Italy), Giovanni Peri (UC Davis), and Greg C. Wright (Ph.D. candidate at UC Davis).

There remains some questions about the impact of immpgranbt workers on U.S. citizen workers.  Last week, the Pew Hispanic Center released a reports that unemployment has fallen among foreign-born workers over the past year, while rising among native-born workers.  Fearing that some observers will undoubtedly conclude from this that the jobs which went to foreign-born workers would have otherwise gone to native-born workers if not for the presence of immigrants in the labor market, the Immigration Policy Center quickly responded. The IPC emphasized that, in reality, immigrant and native-born workers are not interchangeable, nor do they compete with each other for some fixed number of jobs in the U.S. economy. Moreover, many immigrants are highly skilled professionals who create jobs through their inventiveness and entrepreneurship. The Pew report provides no detail about the skill level of the workers who have gained or lost jobs since last year, nor does it tell us where in the country they live.


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