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The Effects of U.S. Immigration on the Career Trajectories of Native Workers, 1979–2004

Jeremy Pais
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 119, No. 1 (July 2013), pp. 35-74
DOI: 10.1086/671326
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/671326
Page Count: 40
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The Effects of U.S. Immigration on the Career Trajectories of Native Workers, 1979–2004
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Abstract

While earlier work primarily examines the point-in-time effects of immigration on the earnings of native workers, this article focuses more broadly on the effects of immigration on native workers’ career trajectories. Cross-classified multilevel growth-curve models are applied to 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and U.S. Census Bureau data to demonstrate how people adjust to changing local labor market conditions throughout their careers. The key findings indicate that substitution and complementary effects depend on the stage of the worker’s career. At entry into the labor market, high levels of immigration have a positive effect on the career paths of young native-born adults. However, negative contemporaneous effects to natives’ earnings tend to offset positive point-of-entry effects, a finding that suggests job competition among natives is greater in areas of high immigrant population concentration. These results raise questions about whether foreign-born workers need to be in direct competition with natives for there to be substitution effects.

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