Immigration and Productivity

By the way (thanks, Chris): A new study suggests that regional immigration boosts local productivity.
"Our work shows that cities with more diversity -- more immigrants -- in the work force exhibit higher productivity for the American-born employees," Peri says.

Cities with little or no growth in immigration, such as Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh, did not benefit from this phenomenon during the same time, according to Peri and Ottaviano's calculations.

They make four major findings:

The positive effects on U.S. wages stem from immigrants offering education backgrounds and job skills that are complementary to those of native-born Americans.

Immigrants are increasing the variety of services in cities, making them cheaper for American consumers.

The immigrant services complement American-born services, which implies a limited competition and little downward pressure for American-born wages.

The new businesses are attracting more investment in cities, helping the cities' overall economies grow.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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