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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Essays on Immigration and Frictional Labor Markets

  • Author(s): Zhang, Shiyun
  • Advisor(s): Guo, Jang-Ting
  • Ortego-Marti, Victor
  • et al.

This dissertation consists of three essays which rationalize the effects of immigration on labor market outcomes. Chapter 2 provides an explanation of the impact of immigration on labor market outcomes and crime. Chapter 3 discusses how immigration behavior of workers affect the population of immigrants and labor market outcomes between developed and developing countries. Chapter 4 studies the impact of skilled immigrants on the measure of overeducation in the United States.

The relationship between immigration and crime is one of the important issues on immigration that people are concerned about. In chapter 2, I construct a model that can explain the relationship between immigration and crime and tracks worker's criminal behavior. This model allows all workers to meet criminal opportunities and commit the opportunity that they meet if its value is sufficiently high. This criminal behavior is determined by the value that workers have in the legal sector. The model predicts that the crime rate decreases by 0.156 per 1000 population with an increase in the population of immigrants in the 2000s. Particularly, the crime rate decreases by 0.226 with an increase in the population of skilled immigrants only but increases by 0.061 with an increase in unskilled immigrants.

Chapter 3 studies the migration behavior of workers and the impact of immigration policies on labor market outcomes. The migration behavior is highly related to labor market conditions and the direction of flows can be inverted. Chapter 3 models the migration behavior with two skilled bias frictional labor markets between the two countries. The model captures the double-direction flows of skilled workers between the United States and Mexico and shows that unskilled immigrants flow only from Mexico to the United States. The model also discusses the immigration policy effects on controlling the population of immigrants.

Chapter 4 focus on the impact of immigration on overeducation in the United States. Since the 1990s, the population of immigrants, especially skilled foreign workers. I apply the mismatch measure model from Sahin et al. (2014). With the CES production function, when there are more skilled workers in the labor market, the marginal price of skilled labor decreases and skilled jobs become less valuable. This effect may push skilled workers to search in the unskilled labor market and increase the measure of mismatch in the United States.

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