The impact of IRCA on the job opportunities and earnings of Mexican-American and Hispanic-American workers

A. Davila, J. A. Pagan, M. V. Grau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article studies the earnings gap between Mexican, Hispanic and non-Hispanic white male workers resulting from changes in both the wage structure and immigration laws that occurred during the 1980s. Our results suggest that Mexican and Hispanic workers were adversely affected by these two changes. Using data from the 1980 and 1990 One Percent Public Use Microdata samples, we show that these 'at-risk' workers minimized the negative impact of the increases in the returns to skill by gaining in the non-Hispanic white residual wage distribution. We conclude that at-risk workers increased their work effort to lessen the effects of Act-induced employment losses. Using 1983-1992 data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and EEOC data for this period, we provide support for this contention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-95
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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