NBER

Elior Cohen

University of California, Los Angeles
3210 Sawtelle Blvd Apt 207
Los Angeles, CA 90066

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of California, Los Angeles

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2019The Effects of Immigration on the Economy: Lessons from the 1920s Border Closure
with Ran Abramitzky, Philipp Ager, Leah Platt Boustan, Casper W. Hansen: w26536
In the 1920s, the United States substantially reduced immigrant entry by imposing country-specific quotas. We compare local labor markets with more or less exposure to the national quotas due to differences in initial immigrant settlement. A puzzle emerges: the earnings of existing US-born workers declined after the border closure, despite the loss of immigrant labor supply. We find that more skilled US-born workers – along with unrestricted immigrants from Mexico and Canada – moved into affected urban areas, completely replacing European immigrants. By contrast, the loss of immigrant workers encouraged farmers to shift toward capital-intensive agriculture and discouraged entry from unrestricted workers.

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