The Effects of Trade and Immigration on Low-Skill Workers: Revisiting the Issues with a Cohort of Labor Market Entrants

Awarded Scholars:
Jeffrey Grogger, National Opinion Research Center
Gordon Hanson, National Opinion Research Center
Project Date:
Jun 2007
Award Amount:
$159,902
Project Programs:
Future of Work

Since the mid-1980s, both immigration and international trade have increased significantly and the debate about how these changes contribute to the declining fortunes of less-skilled U.S. workers has intensified. With an award from the Foundation, economists Jeffrey Grogger and Gordon Hanson will take a new look at the unresolved question of whether or not globalization has negatively affected the wages and employment of U.S. workers. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), Grogger and Hanson will track the early careers of low-skilled workers who entered and moved through the U.S. labor market between 1979 and the present. NLSY findings will be merged with additional data on both trade and immigration shocks in the worker’s initial sector of employment. This approach allows the investigators to examine how trade and immigration affect the first 10 to 15 years of a worker’s career. Because their primary interest is low-skilled workers, Grogger and Hanson will compare the early career outcomes of workers with less than a high school education to those of higher skilled workers. The researchers hypothesize that when globalization interrupts the early careers of young workers in vulnerable industry sectors, it will have long-run consequences for advancement in the labor market. The results of the research will be disseminated in workshops and academic conferences, as well as in journal articles.

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