Skip to main content
Return to Brookings Papers on Economic Activity
BPEA Article

How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?

, , and


IMMIGRATION AND TRADE-particularly with less developed countries
(LDCs)-have become more significant to the U.S. economy since the
1960s than they were earlier in the postwar period. The number of
immigrants relative to native-born workers has risen; an increasing
proportion of immigrants come from less developed countries; and a
disproportionate number of immigrants have relatively little schooling.
The ratio of exports and imports to GDP has risen as well, and an
increasing proportion of imports have come from less developed countries.
Immigration and trade have thus increased the effective labor
supply of less skilled workers in the United States, with potential consequences
for relative wages and employment.
To what extent might the economic woes of less skilled and lowpaid
American workers be attributed to changes in trade or immigration?
To what extent have immigration and trade benefited other


Get daily updates from Brookings