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Skilled Immigration TodayProspects, Problems, and Policies$
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Jagdish Bhagwati and Gordon Hanson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195382433

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195382433.001.0001

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Individual Preferences over High-Skilled Immigration in the United States

Individual Preferences over High-Skilled Immigration in the United States

(p.207) 8 Individual Preferences over High-Skilled Immigration in the United States
Skilled Immigration Today

Gordon Hanson

Kenneth Scheve

Matthew J. Slaughter

Oxford University Press

There is the argument that the average citizen will feel less threatened by skilled immigrants, for assimilation reasons and because the skilled immigrants are not perceived as a drain on the fiscal situation. This chapter examines this issue in the United States, using the data for different states, and finds that the skilled-to-unskilled composition of immigrant inflows does matter in shaping public attitudes toward immigration policy. Less highly skilled natives tend to support freer immigration more when living in states with a relatively skilled mix of immigrants. The sensitivity of less highly skilled natives' opinions to the skill composition of immigrants resonates with earlier findings of concern over the labor-market pressures of immigration. The chapter also considers the political implications of proposals to reform U.S. immigration policy.

Keywords:   immigration policy, assimilation, skilled immigrants, political conflict, immigrant mix

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