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Immigrant quality and assimilation: A review of the US literature


Empirical research on US immigrants is reviewed: their productivity and assimilation; their contribution and use of public services; and their impact on native Americans. I discuss the characteristics of cohorts of immigrants that enter the United States at different times, and then quantify the assimilation of immigrants, typically in terms of economic productivity of immigrants compared with natives. Few have found quantifiable negative effects of immigrants on native wages or unemployment in local labor markets, but a more general equilibrium approach than has been empirically implemented may be needed to draw any conclusions regarding the distributional consequences of immigration.

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Received: 22 September 1995 / Accepted: 2 March 1997

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Schultz, T. Immigrant quality and assimilation: A review of the US literature. J Popul Econ 11, 239–252 (1998).

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  • JEL classification: J61
  • J24
  • J31
  • Key words: US immigrant assimilation
  • cohort quality
  • consequences of immigration