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Attenuation Bias in Measuring the Wage Impact of Immigration

Abdurrahman Aydemir () and George Borjas ()

Journal of Labor Economics, 2011, vol. 29, issue 1, 69-113

Abstract: Although economic theory predicts an inverse relation between relativewages and immigration-induced supply shifts, it has been difficultto document such effects. The weak evidence may be partly due to samplingerror in a commonly used measure of the supply shift, the immigrantshare of the workforce. After controlling for permanent factors thatdetermine wages in specific labor markets, little variation remainsin the immigrant share. We find significant sampling error in thismeasure of supply shifts in Canadian and U.S. census data. Correctingfor the resulting attenuation bias can substantially increase existingestimates of the wage impact of immigration. (c) 2011 by The University of Chicago. Allrights reserved.

Date: 2011
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