Labor Outflows and Labor Inflows in Puerto Rico
Although a sizable fraction of the Puerto Rican-born population moved to the United States, the island also received large inflows of persons born outside Puerto Rico. Hence Puerto Rico provides a unique setting for examining how labor inflows and outflows coexist, and measuring the mirror-image wage impact of these flows. The study yields two findings. First, the skills of the out-migrants differ from those of the in-migrants. Puerto Rico attracts high-skill in-migrants and exports low-skill workers. Second, the two flows have opposing effects on wages: in-migrants lower the wage of competing workers and out-migrants increase the wage.
I am grateful to Gary Becker, Mark Bils, Isaac Ehrlich, Gordon Hanson, Petra Todd, and two referees for helpful comments on a previous draft of this paper, to Trent Alexander of the Minnesota Population Center for generously supplying the Puerto Rican census microdata files, and to Jason Richwine for research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.