Do continued increases in immigration erode wages for other immigrants?


Sociology graduate student James Bachmeier receives grant from UC Office of the President to find out

James Bachmeier, third year sociology Ph.D. candidate, has received a $7,500 Labor and Employment Research Fund award from the UC Office of the President to study the relationship between the size of the Mexican immigrant work force in U.S. cities and the wages of individual Mexican workers.  

"Economists and sociologists have consistently found that earnings of immigrants decrease with the arrival of newcomers," says Bachmeier. "In the case of Mexicans, this is only true in areas with a long standing history of receiving immigrants from Mexico; in newer areas of immigrant settlement, earnings of Mexicans are positively related to increased immigration."  

Using census data, he will seek to determine the extent to which this difference stems from unique labor market characteristics in new settlement areas on the one hand, or to the dynamics of immigrant social networks on the other.  

Findings from the study will help researchers and policy makers to better understand the factors at play in shaping Mexican immigrant employment outcomes, as well as the degree to which migrants are penalized or rewarded for relying on established immigrant social networks to find work.  

The project, funded from January through December 2008, will also contribute to Bachmeier's dissertation research in which he is examining how the dynamics of Mexican labor migration shape the socio-economic outcomes of Mexican workers and their descendants in the United States. His dissertation is being advised by Frank Bean, sociology professor and director of the Center for Research on Immigration, Population and Public Policy where Bachmeier also works as a research assistant.

Thursday, February 7, 2008