The Wage Impact of the Marielitos: A Reappraisal
NBER Working Paper No. 21588
This paper brings a new perspective to the analysis of the Mariel supply shock, revisiting the question armed with the accumulated insights from the literature on the economic impact of immigration. A crucial lesson from that literature is that any credible attempt to measure the wage impact must carefully match the skills of the immigrants with those of the pre-existing workers. At least 60 percent of the Marielitos were high school dropouts. A reappraisal of the Mariel evidence, specifically examining wages in this low-skill group, overturns the finding that Mariel did not affect Miami’s wage structure. The wage of high school dropouts in Miami dropped dramatically, by 10 to 30 percent, suggesting an elasticity of wages with respect to the number of workers between -0.5 and -1.5.
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This paper was revised on July 17, 2016
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21588