The Impact of Migration on Earnings Inequality
Using 1940–2015 data from the US census and American Community Survey, the author first documents national, regional, and state-level trends in earnings inequality and migration. He then looks at the effect of state-level flows of immigration (arriving from another country), in-migration (arriving from another state), and out-migration (departing for another state) on state-level earnings inequality. The paper explores two mechanisms for the impact on earnings inequality of migration flows into or out of states. One channel is through migrants, whose movements alter the population and associated earnings with which inequality is measured; the other channel is through non-migrants, whose earnings may be affected by migration due to, for instance, changes in productivity.