Thursday, October 29, 2015
Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a new series in which we profile previously-published scholarship. Our goal is to highlight excellent work that may not be on the radar of new scholars.
In 1990, economist David Card published a groundbreaking article entitled The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market.
Card studied the effect that the large influx of Cuban workers (125,000 arrived between May and September of 1980) had on the Miami labor market. He found that the labor force grew by 7%, with a greater increase in less-skilled occupations and industries. But he found no effect on the wages or unemployment rates of non-Cuban workers nor non-boatlift Cuban workers. There was, in fact, "rapid absorption" of the Mariel immigrants into the Miami workforce.
Card attributed the success of Mariel migrants in Miami to the unique industry structure of the city and the city's already high concentration of Spanish-speaking natives. He also concluded that the increase in Mariel migrants may have deterred internal migration to Miami.
Card's findings have led scholars like immprof Howard Chang to conclude that there is no empirical support for protectionist immigration laws.