DP7888 The Impact of Immigration on the Structure of Wages: Theory and Evidence from Britain

Author(s): Marco Manacorda, Alan Manning, Jonathan Wadsworth
Publication Date: June 2010
Keyword(s): Immigration, Returns to education, Wages
JEL(s): J6
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Public Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7888

Immigration to the UK, particularly among more educated workers, has risen appreciably over the past 30 years and as such has raised labor supply. However studies of the impact of immigration have failed to find any significant effect on the wages of native-born workers in the UK. This is potentially puzzling since there is evidence that changes in the supply of educated natives have significant effects on their wages. Using a pooled time series of British crosssectional micro data on male wages and employment from the mid-1970s to the mid-2000s, this paper offers a resolution to this puzzle, namely that in the UK natives and foreign born workers are imperfect substitutes. We show that immigration has primarily reduced the wages of immigrants - and in particular of university educated immigrants - with little discernable effect on the wages of the native-born.