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Immigration and Wages: Decoding the Economics

In October 2013, the Bipartisan Policy Center examined the macroeconomic impacts of immigration reform in a major report, Immigration Reform: Implications for Growth, Budgets and Housing. The study looked briefly at immigration’s impact on wages, finding a small negative wage impact in the first ten years but a larger wage gain in the next ten years after enforcement (relative to the no-reform baseline).

As a follow-up to that study, we took a closer look at immigration’s wage effects and why different studies reach different conclusions. This issue brief decodes the economics of immigration and wages, drawing broad results from literature reviews and highlighting studies that illustrate key concepts.

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