The Wage Impact of the Marielitos: A Reappraisal

October 5, 2016

 

By: Borjas, George J. (Harvard University)
This paper brings a new perspective to the analysis of the Mariel supply shock, revisiting the question and the data armed with the accumulated insights from the vast literature on the economic impact of immigration. A crucial lesson from this literature is that any credible attempt to measure the wage impact of immigration must carefully match the skills of the immigrants with those of the pre-existing workforce. The Marielitos were disproportionately low-skill; at least 60 percent were high school dropouts. A reappraisal of the Mariel evidence, specifically examining the evolution of wages in the low-skill group most likely to be affected, quickly overturns the finding that Mariel did not affect Miami’s wage structure. The absolute wage of high school dropouts in Miami dropped dramatically, as did the wage of high school dropouts relative to that of either high school graduates or college graduates. The drop in the relative wage of the least educated Miamians was substantial (10 to 30 percent), implying an elasticity of wages with respect to the number of workers between -0.5 and -1.5. In fact, comparing the magnitude of the steep post-Mariel drop in the low-skill wage in Miami with that observed in all other metropolitan areas over an equivalent time span between 1977 and 2001 reveals that the change in the Miami wage structure was a very unusual event. The analysis also documents the sensitivity of the estimated wage impact to the choice of a placebo. The measured impact is much smaller when the placebo consists of cities where pre- Mariel employment growth was weak relative to Miami.
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ecl:harjfk:15-057&r=ltv

Debunking the Stereotype of the Lazy Welfare Recipient: Evidence from Cash Transfer Programs Worldwide

October 5, 2016

 

By: Banerjee, Abhijit (MIT) ; Hanna, Rema (Harvard University) ; Kreindler, Gabriel (MIT) ; Olken, Benjamin A. (MIT)
Targeted transfer programs for poor citizens have become increasingly common in the developing world. Yet, a common concern among policy makers – both in developing as well as developed countries – is that such programs tend to discourage work. We re-analyze the data from 7 randomized controlled trials of government-run cash transfer programs in six developing countries throughout the world, and find no systematic evidence that cash transfer programs discourage work.
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ecl:harjfk:15-076&r=lam

 


Can Cash Transfers Help Households Escape an Inter-Generational Poverty Trap?

October 5, 2016

 

By: M. Caridad Araujo ; Mariano Bosch ; Norbert Schady
Many poor households in developing countries are liquidity-constrained. As a result, they may under-invest in the human capital of their children. We provide new evidence on the long-term (10-year) effects of cash transfers using data from Ecuador. Our analysis is based on two separate sources of data and two identification strategies. First, we extend the results from an experiment that randomly assigned children under the age of 6 years to “early” or “late” treatment groups. Although the early treatment group received twice as much in transfers, we find no difference between children in the two groups on performance on a large number of tests. Second, we use a regression discontinuity design exploiting the fact that a “poverty index” was used to determine eligibility for transfers. We focus on children who were just-eligible and just-ineligible for transfers when they were in late childhood, and compare their school attainment and work status 10 years later. Transfers increased secondary school completion, but the effects are small, between 1 and 2 percentage points from a counterfactual school completion rate of 75 percent. We conclude that any effect of cash transfers on the inter-generational transmission of poverty in Ecuador is likely to be modest.
JEL: I3
URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22670&r=lam