Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Immigration, Human Capital and the Welfare of Natives

Eberhard, Juan (2012): Immigration, Human Capital and the Welfare of Natives.

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Abstract

I analyze the effect of an unexpected influx of immigrants on the price of skill and hence on the earnings, human capital accumulation and educational attainment of native workers. In order to study these effects, I develop a general equilibrium model with heterogeneous workers who differ in their level of skill and in their ability to learn new skills. These workers accumulate human capital optimally using information about the current and future market price of skill to guide their decisions. To assess the impact of immigration, I compare simulated earnings in the presence of immigration with a series of counterfactual experiments. My findings suggest that immigration has a small negative direct effect on earnings, but a positive and relatively large impact indirectly through human capital accumulation and educational attainment. This latter mechanism explains 60% of the variations in earnings caused by immigration.

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