The mass immigration since the 1960s has transformed the US Society. I study how immigrants fare in the United States as well as how they change the lives of natives.

Immigration and the Wage Distribution in the United States

(with Inbar Weiss)

This article assesses the connection between immigration and wage inequality in the United States. Departing from the focus on how the average wages of different native groups respond to immigration, we examine how immigrants shape the overall wage distribution. Despite evidence indicating that an increased presence of low-skilled immigrants is associated with losses at the lower end of wage distribution, we do not observe a similar result between high-skilled immigrants and natives at the upper end. Instead, the presence of foreign-born workers, whether high- or low-skilled, is associated with substantial gains for high-wage natives, particularly those at the very top. Consequently, increased immigration is associated with greater wage dispersion.

Demography, 56(6), 2229-2252

Residential Hierarchy in Los Angeles: An Examination of Ethnic and Documentation Status Differences

(with David Cort and Gabriela Stevenson)

Longitudinal event history data from two waves of the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey are used to explore racial, ethnic, and documentation status differences in access to desirable neighborhoods. We first find that contrary to recent findings, undocumented Latinos do not replace blacks at the bottom of the locational attainment hierarchy. Whites continue to end up in neighborhoods that are less poor and whiter than minority groups, while all minorities, including undocumented Latinos, end up in neighborhoods that are of similar quality. Second, the effects of socioeconomic status for undocumented Latinos are either similar to or weaker than disadvantaged blacks. These findings suggest that living in less desirable neighborhoods is a fate disproportionately borne by non-white Los Angeles residents and that in some limited ways, the penalty attached to being undocumented Latino might actually be greater than the penalty attached to being black.

Do Less-Skilled Immigrants Work More? Examining the Work Time of Mexican Immigrant Men in the United States

Using data from the US Current Population Surveys 2006-2008, I examine the weekly work hours of Mexican immigrants. Mexican immigrant workers on average work two to four hours less than non-Hispanic whites per week, which contradicts the popular portrait of long immigrant work hours. Four mechanisms to explain this gap are proposed and examined. Results show that the work time disparity between non-Hispanic white and Mexican immigrant workers is explained by differences in human capital, ethnic concentration in the labor market, and selection process into employment. English proficiency has limited effect on work time after location in labor market is specified, while the effect of citizenship status remains robust.