“Do Minimum Wages Help or Hurt Low-Skilled Immigrants?” (with Joseph J. Sabia). Accepted at Industrial Relations.
Raising the minimum wage has been advanced as complementary policy to comprehensive immigration reform to improve low-skilled immigrants’ economic wellbeing. While adverse labor demand effects could undermine this goal, existing studies do not detect evidence of negative employment effects. We re-investigate this question using data from the 1994 to 2016 Current Population Survey and conclude that minimum wage increases reduced employment of less-educated Hispanic immigrants, with estimated elasticities of around -0.1. However, we also find that the earnings and employment effects of minimum wages on low-skilled immigrants diminished over the last decade. This finding is consistent with more restrictive state immigration policies and the Great Recession inducing outmigration of low-skilled immigrants, as well as a shift toward the informal sector. Finally, our results show that raising the minimum wage is an ineffective policy tool for reducing immigrant poverty.
“E-Verify Mandates and Immigrant Health Insurance”
The Trump administration has called for a nationwide E-Verify mandate as part of a broader effort to reshape US immigration policy. While several studies have examined the labor market effects of E-Verify mandates, no paper has considered the potential health consequences. Using both the Current Population Survey and the American Community Survey, this paper finds that E-Verify mandates reduce the probability that an immigrant has insurance by approximately 5 percentage points. In addition to inhibiting access to employer-sponsored insurance, there is robust evidence that E-Verify mandates chill Medicaid participation among immigrants. The effects are particularly acute for likely-unauthorized individuals, likely-authorized immigrants in mixed-status households, and citizen children with likely-unauthorized mothers. Finally, the results indicate that E-Verify mandates increase the probability that an immigrant reports being in poor health.
Work in Progress
“Prenatal Care and Immigrant Birth Outcomes”