Mark Wardlaw, an economics minor in the Jack C. Massey College of Business, recently attended and presented a paper titled “Wage Differentials Across Degree Fields and Levels of Education for Immigrants vs. Natives” at the Issues in Political Economy (IPE) 29th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference in Economics. The conference was held in New York February 25 – 26. The conference brings together undergraduates from across the country to present and share their research with peers. Students presenting at the IPE also serve as discussants.
Using data from the American Community Survey over an 11-year period (2009-2019), the research rigorously examines the extent of any wage differentials between natives and immigrants living in the United States. After controlling for a wide range of relevant factors informed by theory, the findings indicate that, overall, natives earn more than immigrants, with the differences in wages decreasing with increasing education levels. An important finding is that immigrants with STEM degrees earn more than their native counterpart. The findings of this study offer some insights into the wide variation in wages between natives and immigrants across various spectrums. There are important policy implications which can guide policymakers and regulators in their approach to immigration reforms.
Early contributions to the research came from fellow students Dawson Flint, Keita Suzuki, Sean Cleaver and Lauren Dansbury during a course in labor economics taught by Dr. Colin Cannonier, who served as research advisor and also in attendance at this conference.