THE IMMIGRANTS: Native Wages Distributions 2

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Simple Density Estimates: All Immigrants and Natives

Figure 1 presents density estimates for the w^age distributions of native-born men and women from 1960 through 1990. All wrage observations have been converted to 1990 dollars. These estimates highlight the dramatic changes in w’age structure over these decades. The change is greatest for men, where the increasing density in the lower tail is striking. The distributional changes for women are subtly different : for men. the “peak’1 of the distribution is lowrer in 1990 than in any other year, but there is an increase in density in the upper tail. Also, where the distribution for men shows a steady increase in the variance, the distributions for women from 1960 through 1980 are more similar* This is in part due to the effect of the minimum wage on the distribution of wages for women in 1980 (DiNardo, Fortin, and Lemieux 1996).

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In figures 2a and 2b we compare the density of all immigrants to natives for each year of our data, for men and women, respectively. As in the previous figure, the log hourly wages have been converted to 1990 dollars.

Considering native men first, it is clear that most measures of central tendency show that wages rise between 1960 and 1970 and fall thereafter, as is consistent with a large body of research. The distribution of immigrant wages shows some interesting patterns over time. In both 1960 and 1970, the immigrant and native born wage distributions are very similar. After 1970 however, the twro distributions begin to diverge. Much of the difference between the two distributions is slightly below and slightly above the median. The difference between the wage distribution of the two groups, in terms of measures such as mean wages, is less driven by differences at the extremes of the distribution, but rather by differences between “middle-class” immigrants and natives (using the term middle-class in the sense of “middle portion of the distribution/1)

Again for women, in 1960 and 1970 the densities for immigrants are very similar to their native counterparts. However, the relative position of the two densities appears to converge in 1980. Despite the measurement error in our constructed average hourly earnings measures, the large impact of the minimum wage (which was at a peak in real terms in 1979) is evident in the spike for both immigrants and natives in 1980. This is consistent with the evidence presented in DiNardo, Fortin, and Lemieux (1996). In 1990. the distributions appear to begin to pull apart slightly, with immigrants relatively over -represented slightly to the left of mode and natives relatively over-represented slightly to the right of mode. Electronic Payday Loans Online