This paper presents an empirical analysis of the impact of the Mariel
Boatlift on the Miami labor market, focusing on the effects on wages and
unemployment rates of less-skilled workers. The Mariel immigrants
increased the population and labor force of the Miami metropolitan area by
6-7 percent. Most of the immigrants were relatively unskilled: as a
result, the proportional increase in labor supply to less-skilled
occupations and industries was probably much greater. Nevertheless, an
analysis of wages of non-Cuban workers in Miami over the 1979-85 period
reveals virtually no effect of the Mariel influx. Likewise, there is no
indication that the Boatlift lead to an increase in the unemployment rates
of less-skilled blacks or other non-Cuban workers. Even among the Cuban
population wages and unemployment rates of earlier immigrants were not
substantially effected by the arrival of the Mariels.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 43, January 1990
Card, D. (1989). The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market. Retrieved from (Original work published May 1989)
Working Papers

This paper examines the effects of immigration on the labor market
outcomes of less-skilled natives. Working from a simple model of a local
labor market, we show that the effects of immigration can be estimated from
the correlations between the fraction of immigrants in a city and the
employment and wage outcomes of natives. The size of the effects depend on
the fraction and skill composition of the immigrants. We go on the compute
these correlations using city-specific outcomes for individuals in 120
major SMSA's in the 1970 and 1980 Censuses. We also use the relative
industry distributions of immigrants and natives to provide a direct
assessment of the degree of labor market competition between them.
Our empirical findings indicate a modest degree of competition between
immigrants and less-skilled natives. A comparison of industry
distributions shows that an increase in the fraction of immigrants in the
labor force translates to an approximately equivalent percentage increase
in the supply of labor to industries in which less-skilled natives are
employed. Based on this calculation, immigrant inflows between 1970 and
1980 generated l-2 percent increases in labor supply to these industries in
most cities. A comparison of industry distributions of less-skilled
natives in high- and low-immigrant share cities between 1970 and 1980 shows
some displacement out of low-wage immigrant-intensive industries.
We find little effect of immigration on the employment outcomes of
the four race/sex groups that we consider. Our estimates of the effect of
immigration on the wages of less-skilled natives are sensitive to the
specification and estimation procedure. However, our preferred estimates,
which are based on first differences between 1980 and 1970 and the use of
instrumental variables to control for the endogeneity of immigrant inflows,
imply that an increase in immigrants equal to l percent of an SMSA's
population reduces native wages by roughly 1.2 percent.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
In John Abowd and Richard Freeman, eds., Immigration, Trade and Labor, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991
Card, D., & Altonji, J. (1989). The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcome of Less-Skilled Natives. Retrieved from (Original work published October 1989)
Working Papers

In this paper we explore the labor market returns to the General Education Development exam, or GED.
Using new data from the Current Population Survey, we examine how the return to the GED varies
between U.S. natives and the foreign-born. We find that foreign-born men who hold a GED but
received all of their formal schooling outside of the U.S. earn significantly more than either foreignschooled
dropouts or individuals with a foreign high school diploma. For foreign-born men with some
U.S. schooling, earning a GED brings higher wages than a traditional U.S. high school diploma,
although this difference is not statistically significantly different from zero. These patterns stand in
contrast to those for U.S. natives, among whom GED recipients earn less than high school graduates but
significantly more than dropouts. The effects for natives appear to become larger over the life cycle and
do not seem to be due to cohort effects. While it is difficult to attach a purely causal interpretation to
our findings, they do indicate that the GED may be more valuable in the labor market than some
previous research suggests.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Jaeger, D., & Clark, M. (2002). Natives, the Foreign-Born and High School Equivalents: New Evidence on the Returns to the GED. Retrieved from (Original work published April 2002)
Working Papers

More than one million new immigrants currently enter the United States every year. In this paper
I use 1990 Census data to study the effects of immigrant inflows on the local labor market
opportunities of natives and older immigrants. I depart from the previous literature by classifying
new immigrants, older immigrants, and natives into distinct skill groups, and focussing on skill-
group-specific outcomes within cities. Recent immigrants tend to be disproportionately concentrated
in the lowest skill groups, although the makeup of immigrant inflows to individual cities varies with
the source countries of the immigrants. An important first question is whether the arrival of new
immigrants generates offsetting mobility by natives or earlier immigrants. Using micro-level mobility
flows from 1985 to 1990 I find that natives‘ locational decisions are virtually unaffected by inflows
of new immigrants. Earlier immigrants are less likely to move to cities that are drawing new
immigrants in their specific skill groups, but on net each new immigrant expands the local population
of his or her particular skill group by 1. I find that immigration-induced rises in the relative fraction
of the population in specific skill groups generate small reductions in the employment rates of
natives and earlier immigrants in the same skill group. The estimated effects on relative wages are
smaller still, and not as robust to alternative specifications. Consistent with earlier studies, I
conclude that even large inflows of relatively unskilled new immigrants generate surprisingly small
effects on the relative labor market performance of less-skilled natives or earlier immigrants.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 19, No. 1, January, 2001
Card, D. (1996). Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration. Retrieved from (Original work published November 1996)
Working Papers

Immigrant blacks have largely been ignored, both in discussions about
racial discrimination and about the assimilation of immigrants. In analyzing
immigrant blacks, Sowell (1978) claims to have evidence that it is not
discrimination that is responsible for the poor labor market success of native
blacks, but rather their "cultural traditions." Using the 1980 Census, I find
that while immigrant blacks are more likely to be employed, their wages are not
different conditional on employment. To the extent that there are differences,
further investigation reveals that it is the selection processes associated with
migration, and not cultural traditions which account for the differences between
natives and immigrants. Finally, I find that black immigrants do not have similar
"assimilation" patterns to white immigrants, and there is evidence that there has
been a recent decline in the quality of the immigrant cohorts.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 47, No. 2, January 1994
Butcher, K. (1990). Black Immigrants to the United States: A Comparison with Native Blacks and Other Immigrants. Retrieved from (Original work published August 1990)
Working Papers

More immigrants entered the United States during the l980s than
in any comparable period since the 1920s. Although at a national
level the inflow rates were relatively modest, most of the newly
arriving immigrants settled in only a handful of cities. In this
paper, we study the effects of immigration during the 1980s on the
evolution of wages within a sample of 24 major cities. We
concentrate on changes in wages for relatively low-paid workers,
and on changes in the gap between highly-paid and low-paid
workers. Our analysis reveals significant differences across
cities in the relative growth rates of wages for low-paid and
highly-paid workers. However, the relative growth rates of wages
at the low end of the earnings distribution bear little or no
relation to the relative size of immigrant inflows to different

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
American Economic Review, 81, May, 1991
Butcher, K., & Card, D. (1991). Immigration and Wages: Evidence From the 1980s. Retrieved from (Original work published February 1991)
Working Papers