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Task Specialisation, Immigration and Wages

Giovanni Peri () and Chad Sparber ()

No 252, Development Working Papers from Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano

Abstract: Many workers with low levels of educational attainment immigrated to the United States in recent decades. In a simple model exploiting comparative advantage we show that if less-educated foreign and native-born workers specialize in performing different tasks, immigration will cause natives to reallocate their task supply, thereby reducing downward wage pressure. We merge occupational task-intensity data from the O*NET and DOT datasets with individual Census data across US states from 1960-2000 to demonstrate that foreign-born workers specialize in occupations that require manual and physical labor skills while natives pursue jobs more intensive in communication and language tasks. This increased specialization might explain why economic analyses commonly find only modest wage and employment consequences of immigration for less-educated native-born workers across U.S. states.

Keywords: Immigration; Less-Educated Labor; Manual Tasks; Communication Skills; Comparative Advantages; US States (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 J61 J31 R13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008-06-30
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Related works:
Journal Article: Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Task Specialization, Immigration and Wages (2009) Downloads
Working Paper: Task Specialization, Immigration, and Wages (2008) Downloads
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