Immigration, Labor Market Mobility, and the Earnings of Native-Born Workers

An Occupational Segmentation Approach


  • Roberto Pedace

    1. University of Redlands, 1200 East Colton Avenue, Redlands, CA 92373; e-mail:
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      Roberto Pedace is an Associate Professor of Economics, University of Redlands, 1200 East Colton Avenue, Redlands, CA 92373; e-mail: Professor Pedace’s interests include immigration, labor market discrimination, and the economics of minimum wages. Other published papers include “The Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market for Native-born Workers: Incorporating the Dynamics of Internal Migration” (1998) and “Using Administrative Records to Assess Earnings Reporting Error in the Survey of Income and Program Participation,” with Nancy Bates (2001). The author wishes to thank David Fairris for his guidance and intellectual support of this research. Gary Dymski, Aziz Khan, Elizabeth Zahrt-Geib, and participants at the 41st Annual Western Social Science Association Conference in Fort Worth, Texas also provided valuable comments.


Abstract This article seeks to improve on previous estimates of the impact of immigration on native wages by using an occupational segmentation approach that directly controls for regional migration and other shifts in the native-born U.S. labor supply. The U.S. labor market is segmented by occupation in order to determine which, if any, native workers tend to be vulnerable to increased immigrant competition for jobs. The results suggest that native-born workers in the primary sector are the main beneficiaries of increased immigration, while native-born Hispanic females in the secondary sector are the most susceptible to downward wage pressures.