Immigration and Economic Performance Across Fifty U.S. States from 1980-2015

by Timothy Kane, Zach Rutledge
Thursday, July 19, 2018

Economics Working Paper 18112

Abstract: The fifty US states experienced diverse increases in immigration since 1980 but shared a similar institutional framework, which allows us to assess the impact of immigration on several macro-level variables of economic performance. We use data from a variety of public sources and the popular shift-share instrument to isolate exogenous variation in migration by state and decade since 1980. Although the overall correlation between immigration and performance variables is positive, analysis of regional and time variation reveals a negative growth relationship between the foreign-born share of the labor force and GDP, per-capita GDP, employment, native employment, and per-capita income. Most of those effects dissipate in level regressions that assess longer-term impacts.

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