Immigration and Labor Market Outcomes in the Native Elderly Population
Economic theory predicts that in the short run, increased immigration in a competitive job market should lower workers’ wages. Studies have been less conclusive, however, leading to research on how immigration affects workers with different skills or in different demographic categories.
A 2008 Harvard University study for the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Immigration and Labor Market Outcomes in the Native Elderly Population,” focuses on the effect of immigration on labor market outcomes for native elderly workers.
Tags: aging, poverty, retirement, Native American
Using data from 1960 to 2000 U.S. censuses and the post-1994 current population surveys, the researcher examined how the immigrant population affects wages, employment and retirement among the older workforce. Key findings include:
- Immigration decreases the wages, reduces labor supply and increases retirement of competing elderly native workers.
- A 10% immigration-induced increase in the size of the workforce lowers the employment rate of elderly men by 7%. This is in comparison with an estimated decline of between 3% and 4% for the workforce between the age of 18 and 64.
- A 10% immigration-induced increase in the size of the workforce increases the probability of elderly men receiving Social Security Benefits by 6%.
Tags: aging, Native American, poverty, retirement
Note to instructor: The suggested assignments are designed for flexibility. They can be used in whole or part and can be adapted to a particular task â€” for example, the newswriting assignments could be applied to the writing of the headline, the lead, the nut graph or the full story. Material from the assignments could also be combined with other material, for example, in the writing of a background, feature or local-angle story.
Read the National Bureau of Economic Research study titled "Immigration and Labor Market Outcomes in the Native Elderly Population."
- Summarize the study in fewer than 40 words.
- Express the study's key term(s) in language a lay audience can understand.
- Evaluate the study's limitations. (For example: Do the results conflict with those of other reliable studies? Are there weaknesses in the study's data or research design?)
Read the issue-related New York Times article titled "Obama Set for First Step on Immigration Reform."
- If you were to rewrite the article based on knowledge of the study, what key changes would you make?
- Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study.
- Spend 60 minutes exploring the issue by accessing sources of information other than the study. Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study but informed by the new information. Does the new information significantly change what one would write based on the study alone?
- Interview two sources with a stake in or knowledge of the issue. Be prepared to provide them with a short summary of the study in order to get their response to it. Write a 400-word article about the study incorporating material from the interviews.
- Spend additional time exploring the issue and then write a 1,200-word background article, focusing on major aspects of the issue.