Does Immigration Explain Skill-Stagnation?


Back on the 12th I posted the Economic Report of the President’s skill stagnation chart:


David Frum comments:

The most obvious explanation for this change: immigration. Unlike Canada and Australia, which emphasize highly skilled migrants, U.S. immigration policy is skewed in favor of the very low-skilled.

Katz & Goldin consider and reject this hypothesis on page 33 of their book:


That said, I do agree with Frum that America would do well to increase the number of high-skill immigrants that we permit to enter the country. I’m not a supporter of reducing the volume of low-skill immigration (indeed, wouldn’t mind seeing more of it) but the purely economic case is even clearly that more immigration by educated people would be beneficial to most native-born Americans as well as to most low-skill immigrants to the USA. It seems particularly silly that people who come to the US on student visas and successfully obtain degrees here don’t automatically garner permission to work in America.