The export effect of immigration into the USA

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Much has been written on the connection between migration and international trade. Human history provides important examples of migrations leading to increased trade activity, with perhaps the most well-known example of the 'Overseas Chinese'. This study investigates the trade-related importance of Chinese and other immigrants into the USA. Previous studies may have underestimated (or overestimated) the relationship between trade and migration with nations treated as featureless plains rather than as varied landscapes. This study contends that an understanding of the immigration-trade relationship can be improved upon by examining the specific pattern and destination of immigration into specific US states. Using state level export data to 28 immigrant source countries in 1993, a strong immigration-trade link is found, reinforcing conclusions made by previous research using country level data. The compelling connection between immigration and trade found in this study and others suggests that future changes to US immigration policies necessitate that their trade effects also be taken into account.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha NE 68182-0048 USA 2: Department of Economics University of Central Florida Orlando FL USA 32816-1400

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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