2012 June 11 Monday
Skilled Immigrants Drive Out Skilled But Not Unskilled Natives
This makes perfect sense.
In the first study to measure the temporary impact of highly skilled immigrants on native populations, University of Notre Dame Economist Abigail Wozniak and Fairfield University's Thomas J. Murray — a former Notre Dame graduate student — found that when highly skilled immigrants move to a city or town, the U.S. natives in that area who are also highly skilled tend to move away. However, the study found that the same immigrant group's presence decreases the chances that low-skilled natives would leave.
"High skill" refers to those having some post-secondary education or above, while "low skill" are those with a high school diploma or less education. "Natives" refer to U.S. citizens by birth.
The correlation between skills and intelligence is pretty strong. So is the correlation between education and income. Smarter and more skilled people tend to work in different occupations than the less intelligent and less skilled. So smart immigrants and smart natives tend to compete more for similar jobs. The less bright work in simpler occupations where they serve the brighter and each other. So, for example, much less bright people do trash collection. Increase the supply of engineers, whether native or imported, and the net effect is to increase the demand for less bright people to serve them.
According to the study, which will appear in the July issue of the Journal of Urban Economics, smaller and more geographically isolated cities show the biggest impacts. There was little difference in results between growing versus declining cities.
This result is not surprising. The cause seems obvious. But these economists entirely miss the cause:
"We conclude that natives with less education take longer to adjust to the arrival of immigrants in their local labor market than do natives with more education," Wozniak says. "These effects are more pronounced in smaller, more isolated communities, from where it would be more difficult and expensive for less skilled natives to relocate."
If immigrants with more education arrive in a labor market then those immigrants work in occupations where they directly compete with the more educated. Those more educated are much smarter on average than the less educated. The immigrants do not compete with the less bright and less educated. Rather, the immigrants use their earnings from higher paying jobs to pay for services from less educated natives.
Since the added buying power of more skilled immigrants increases the demand for less skilled natives (more demand for construction workers, plumbers, auto repair technicians, grocery store clerks, etc) it is not surprising that less skilled natives stay when the highly skilled immigrants arrive. This result is not surprising.
Your model doesn't work, Randall, unless the total income to the higher skill group increases. On the face of it, an increase in labor supply will decrease per capita wages, and the wording of the press release (haven't seen the study itself) suggests that the total number of high skilled jobs is largely unaffected.
Here's an alternate scenario:
Immigrants from high total population density societies -- the dominant source of high skill labor in the US -- are culturally biased toward utilization of low skill labor. Hence, when they start spending their money, they tend to spend it in ways that increases the demand for low skill labor.
I raise an eyebrow at the use of "bright" and "less bright" as synonyms for "white collar" and "blue collar", as seems to be happening here. The image that comes to my mind is that of a first-rate trim carpenter, with a family, nice house and vehicles, as compared to a computer coder, manually inept, bouncing from one contract job to the next, and maybe moaning about how "corporations" are holding him down.
>Randall wrote:"High skill" refers to those having some post-secondary education or above, while "low skill" are those with a high school diploma or less education.
I tend to disagree with that definition. Skill means ability; ability for whatever job there might exist. A "Low-skilled" person is anybody (graduate, doctor, undergraduate) who does not have the abilities required for a given job whether picking berries, pulling guts or splitting atoms. We could perhaps use the terms "academic workers", "scholar workers", "labor workers", "agricultural workers", "science workers" -what do I know- to differentiate those who work more with their minds from those who work more with their hands.
>Randall wrote: "Natives" refer to U.S. citizens by birth.
Well, maybe. "Native" only means a person who was born in a certain place. However we could avoid ambiguous terminology and call a citizen "citizen", and we could continue using the term "native" to refer to the Native American Indians. There's a pretty important difference between being a "citizen" and being a "native"
Although I'm not great at using precise language, but I think that habit is fundamental when we wish to mean something as we put words together to form sentences. Bertrand Russell won the Nobel Prize for Literature for conveying an idea with the least possible number of words per sentence. And let me tell you, that is hard! It requires for us to use the correct words, the correct order and not to be lazy when we have to give meaning to each one of our ideas.
The incorrect use of words, syntax and meanings leads us -and very fast- to have contradictory ideas in our minds. Orwell called it "Doublethink"
I feel like this same discussion, in a slightly different context, occurred in this very spot over six years ago. And wow, how time flies, geez.
If i were a foreman at the California fields and had to choose between an illegal Mexican campesino -low-skilled according to Randall- and a Harvard graduate to get the field picked, i would always choose the Mexican, simply because he's MORE SKILLED at the job than the Harvard graduate.
If i wanted to have bricks laid, my car fixed or my chimichanga deep-fried, i would always choose whoever is skilled at those jobs, not whoever has a degree and regardless of them being Mexican, Arab, German or American.
Randall and others pretend to give the phrase "low-skilled" a different meaning than the one it really has.
An MIT Aerospace Engineer is completely unskilled at grafting apple trees or prunning blackberry brambles. Just as the farmer is completely unskilled at sending rockets to Mars. So immigrants are not necessarily low skilled at what they do or did in their countries. They just haven't had the same opportunities as Randall has.
Randall doesn't realize that poor or lower paid immigrants had become very skilled at the jobs he'd never take. He realizes that when he tips his immigrant waiter after waiting on him and 8 other tables SKILLFULLY. He openly hates brown people just for being brown, but loves the way the Mexican immigrant does his lawn.
He really believes that immigrants are his enemies, but the intensity with which he believes that is no guide for finding the truth of this or any other issue. Randall's posts are often based on emotions and he hasn't learned that where there are strong emotions we are liable to fool ourselves.
Who knows maybe Randall's well paid for doing it. I must confess I too would write against immigrants for being so brown, Syrians for being Syrians, Venezuelans for liking Chavez. I too would support the invation of other nations for not living the way we do. I too would have that double standard in morals if I were paid good for that. I too would play the outraged bourgeois if I just were one. But I'm not. So shame on you for shooting at hard-working immigrants and not wanting to see the real enemies: politicians, corporate owners, bankers, religious leaders, oil companies, fast food chains, retail stores, soft drink manufacturers and all other parasites, and of course, all their filthy host of psychophantics. All the rich fucks Carlin warned us about. All the "rich cock-suckers with whom we have nothing in common."
I will seriously acknowledge Randall when he has an independent mind, even if it gets lonely at times. When he doesn't repeat the same mainstream garbage they want to make us believe. When he embraces the issues with courage and bravery not matter where they lead.
Immigrants pay their taxes without getting the benefits. Immigrants are most probably what continues to hold the wait of a crumbling country.
"If i were a foreman at the California fields and had to choose between an illegal Mexican campesino -low-skilled according to Randall- and a Harvard graduate to get the field picked, i would always choose the Mexican, simply because he's MORE SKILLED at the job than the Harvard graduate."
Nonsense. I *might* choose the Mexican over the Harvard grad, not because the Mexican is more skilled, but because the Harvard grad is probably allergic to hard physical labor. After all, avoiding physical labor is one of the primary reasons people attend college.
I paid my way through college while working a blue collar job. I always took stock of how I was working and adapted my approach to be the fastest while economizing effort. Whatever task I was doing, I would be faster than most co-workers after doing the same task for just hours or even minutes. In my experience the college kids I worked with almost always worked faster than the lifers, and not by running themselves ragged. We did it by working smarter. Indeed, Thomas Sowell noted in one of his books ("Migrations & Cultures," iirc) that Chinese workers on rubber plants produced twice as much as Indonesians doing the same jobs.
Hell, if you did get a Harvard grad into an onion field he might actually find ways to make the work less gruelling and more attractive to American labor.
"Openly hates brown people just for being brown..."
If being a minority was even remotely a disadvantage, then Jewish Americans, Asian Americans, Indian Americans, Middle Eastern Americans, and descendants of Black Americans born in Africa wouldn't all perform better than the White average.
"Racism" is a mainstream narrative people tell themselves to avoid personal accountability and increasing their human potential.
Can we have an example? I'm guessing that what they are talking about is, say, when college graduate Koreans showed up on South Central L.A. and started running liquor stores. The black merchants realized they couldn't compete, sold out to the Koreans, and moved to Georgia or Moreno Valley or somewhere, leaving just customers behind. Is this what they are talking about?
"Hell, if you did get a Harvard grad into an onion field he might actually find ways to make the work less gruelling and more attractive to American labor."
Like what? I'm amazed nobody has come up with a way to make the work less gruelling and more attractive to American labor. Perhaps it's not so easy and perhaps a Harvard grad would be one of the last persons to come up with that, simply because the country really is full of idiots with a degree. Many of them even teach at Harvard.
>"All the rich fucks Carlin warned us about. All the "rich cock-suckers with whom we have nothing in common."
I don't think that's fair. Many of those you call "rich cock-suckers" have become rich through hard work and not stealing or deceiving. Not many though.
>"Randall's posts are often based on emotions and he hasn't learned that where there are strong emotions we are liable to fool ourselves."
I see just as much emotion in you Zamman. Be careful you're not fooled by your own emotions there Zammy.
Wow, check this out, now there's free medicare for HIV patients in Mexico City. Unreal considering how much an HIV treatment costs.
Are we now going to have a few thousand HIV illegal Americans rushing into Mexico City for treatment? Ironic.