The Effect of Immigration Restrictions on Local Labor Markets: Lessons from the 1920s Border Closure

Ran Abramitzky, Philipp Ager, Leah Boustan, Elior Cohen, Casper W. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the 1920s, the United States substantially reduced immigration by imposing country-specific entry quotas. We compare local labor markets differentially exposed to the quotas due to variation in the national-origin mix of their immigrant population. US-born workers in areas losing immigrants did not benefit relative to workers in less exposed areas. Instead, in urban areas, European immigrants were replaced with internal migrants and immigrants from Mexico and Canada. By contrast, farmers shifted toward capital-intensive agriculture, and the immigrant-intensive mining industry contracted. These differences highlight the uneven effects of the quota system at the local level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-191
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance

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