Immigration and Product Diversity
NBER Working Paper No. 14900
We study the effects of immigration on the diversity of consumption choices. Data from California in the 1990s indicate that immigration is associated with fewer stand-alone retail stores, and a greater number of large and in particular big-box retailers – evidence that likely contradicts a diversity-enhancing effect of immigration. In contrast, focusing on the restaurant sector for which we can better identify the types of products consumed by customers, we find that immigration is associated with increased ethnic diversity of restaurants. This latter effect appears to come in part from the comparative advantage of immigrants in the production of ethnic goods.
Published: Francesca Mazzolari & David Neumark, 2012. "Immigration and product diversity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 1107-1137, July.
This paper was revised on December 5, 2011