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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title The immigrant earnings turnaround of the 1990s
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
URL https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rachel_Friedberg/publication/228651573_The_immigrant_earnings_t​urnaround_of_the_1990s/links/00b7d53510a04b491b000000.pdf
This paper uses the 1960-2000 PUMS to study changes over time in the labor market
performance of immigrants in the United States. While data from 1960-1990 show a
continuous decline in the earnings of new immigrants, the trend reversed in the 1990s,
with newcomers doing as well in 2000, relative to natives, as they had 20 years earlier.
This improvement in immigrant performance is not explained by changes in origincountry
composition, educational attainment or state of residence. Changes in labor
market conditions, including changes in the wage structure which could differentially
impact recent arrivals, can account for only a small part of it. The upturn appears to have
been caused in part by a shift in immigration policy toward high-skill workers matched
with jobs, an increase in the earnings of immigrants from Mexico, and a decline in the
earnings of native high school dropouts. The evidence is also consistent with an
improvement in immigrant quality within certain origin countries.

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