NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 2, 2007

Debunking the theory that immigrants seeking jobs leads U.S.-born workers getting lower wages, a new study by the by Giovanni Peri of the Public Policy Institute of California concludes that the earnings of non immigrants in fact increased.  However, new immigrants could also harm the prospects of those who came before them.

Peri's other findings:

  • There is no evidence that the influx of immigrants over the past four decades has worsened the employment opportunities of natives with similar education and experience.
  • There is no association between the influx of immigrants and the out-migration of natives within the same education and age group.
  • Immigration induced a 4 percent real wage increase for the average native worker between 1990 and 2004.
  • Recent immigrants did lower the wages of previous immigrants.


  • He found that between 1990 and 2004, new immigrants accounted for a 20 per cent increase in California's total employment.
  • But rather than hurting the prospects of natives, the influx increased the average real wage of natives by 4 percent.

"Native workers benefit because they are able to specialize more," says Peri.  "In other words, the increased supply of one type of worker fuels the demand for another."

Source: "Natives earning increases due to immigration: study," Press Trust of India/The Hindu, March 2, 2007; based upon: Giovanni Peri, "How Immigrants Affect California Employment and Wages," Public Policy Institute of California, Vol.8, No. 3, February 2007.

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