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Keeping Mexicans out won't help U.S. workers, says study

Staff Writer |
A study by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that any success the Trump administration has in reducing the U.S.'s undocumented Mexican labor force won’t lead to more jobs or higher wages in the U.S.

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"We find that bracero exclusion had little measurable effect on the labor market for domestic farm workers.

"Pre- and post-exclusion farm wages and farm employment were similar in states highly exposed to exclusion—which lost roughly one third of hired seasonal labor—and in states with no exposure.

"Bracero workers were not substantially replaced in the years immediatel

following exclusion with domestic workers, unauthorized Mexican workers, or authorized nonMexican foreign workers.

"We find instead that employers adjusted to exclusion, as predicted by the theory of endogenous technical change, with large changes in technology adoption and crop production," says the study.

The study looked at the effects of ending the Bracero program, which were a series of agreements reached between the U.S. and Mexico concerning migrant farm labor, or braceros.

The program ran from 1942 to 1964 and extended a number of protections to the migrant laborers that where guarantee for U.S. workers.

By the time the program ended it covered nearly 500,000 seasonally employed Mexican laborers.

At the time the program was ended, government officials said the roll back of those rights would improve employment and wages for domestic farm workers.

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