The Wage Impact of the Marielitos: A Reappraisal
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.
I am particularly grateful to Alberto Abadie and Larry Katz for very productive discussions of the issues examined in this paper and for many valuable comments and suggestions. I have also benefitted from the reactions and advice of Brian Cadena, Kirk Doran, Richard Freeman, Daniel Hamermesh, Gordon Hanson, Joan Monras, Marta Tienda, and Steve Trejo. I alone am responsible for all errors. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
George J. Borjas, 2017. "The Wage Impact of the : A Reappraisal," ILR Review, vol 70(5), pages 1077-1110. citation courtesy of