1. Deunionization and Immigrant Entry [Job Market Paper] (The Bank of Canada Graduate Student Paper Award, 2021)
From the late 1960s, the U.S. economy has seen a rapid decline in labour union membership and coverage. This paper argues that the entry of immigrants into the U.S. economy has significantly altered the incentives of native-born workers to join labour unions and firms to hire unionized workers, prompting a fall in unionization. Once immigrants enter the workforce, high-skilled workers choose not to join the union as their efforts are better rewarded in the non-union sector. On the other hand, low-skilled native workers who face competition from immigrant workers are now less valued by firms if unionized and cannot demand a union wage. I present evidence that the entry of low skilled immigrants drives down union rates across geographical regions using an instrumental variable approach. I find that the relationship is robust and holds even after controlling for other potential causes proposed to explain a decline of union density. A search-theoretic framework, developed to bear out the mechanism, is followed by empirically testing predictions derived from the model. The model is further calibrated to fit the data in 1980 and used to predict union density in 2000. This exercise finds that low skilled immigrant entry can explain 48-55% of the total fall in union density.
In this paper, I exploit plausibly exogenous changes in exchange rates across source countries for immigrants in Canada, using panel data to evaluate how these changes impact their labour market outcomes. I present evidence using both survey and administrative tax data that, Canadian immigrants in response to a 10 per cent depreciation of the home currency relative to the Canadian dollar, reduce their annual earnings by 0.36 per cent by mainly reducing hours even after controlling for individual-level heterogeneity. The effect is higher in magnitude for recent male immigrants, who are less educated and are married but not living with their spouses. They also tend to be from lower-income countries and located in immigrant enclaves. Crucially, remittance senders are more affected, but these exchange rate fluctuations do not affect the amount of remittance sent. Thus, suggesting that immigrants tend to be target earners and react accordingly to exchange rate fluctuations.
Work In Progress
- Unlucky immigrants: The long and short run implications of entering the labour market in a recession
This paper studies how labour market conditions at the point of entry for immigrants affect their earnings, labour market outcomes, assimilation to the economy, and reverse migration decisions both in the short and long run. Using rich administrative tax data, I find that it takes 12-15 years for an initial negative impact of the unemployment rate to dissipate completely. I document the heterogeneity existing in this impact based on age, gender, marital status, country of origin, and education. This paper provides novel insights into the out-migration behaviour of immigrants, taking into condition their earnings post-arrival and over-time.