Analysis Shows Mostly Benefits

Report details immigration impact on U.S. labor and economy
Friday, September 23, 2016

Immigration has minimal long-term impacts on wages and employment of native-born U.S. workers, according to a report co-edited by Francine D. Blau ’66.

Blau is the ILR School’s Frances Perkins Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and a Cornell Department of Economics professor.

“The panel's comprehensive examination revealed many important benefits of immigration — including economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship — with little to no negative effects on the overall wages or employment of native-born workers in the long term,” Blau said.

She is chair of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine panel that conducted the study and wrote the report.

“Where negative wage impacts have been detected, native-born high school dropouts and prior immigrants are most likely to be affected,” Blau said in a media release shared Thursday.  

“The fiscal picture is more mixed, with negative effects especially evident at the state level when the costs of educating the children of immigrants are included, but these children of immigrants, on average, go on to be the most positive fiscal contributors in the population.”

“We hope our detailed analysis of the evidence will be of use to policymakers and the public as they consider this issue.”

An archived webinar with Blau on the report findings and webinar slides are posted here.

Author or editor of numerous books and articles on labor market gender issues and other topics, Blau is a former president of the Labor and Employment Relations Association and of the Society of Labor Economists.

She is a past vice president of the American Economic Association.  

Blau earned her doctorate in economics from Harvard in 1975 and has held the Perkins professorship at ILR since 1994.

The National Academies immigration study Blau led was sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with additional support provided by National Academy funds.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide analysis and advice to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology and medicine.