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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

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 work-
ers 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
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)164-191
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

ID: 336466574