USA immigration policy, source-country social programs, and the skill composition of legal USA immigration

Michael J. Greenwood, John M. McDowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


In this paper, highly skilled and less-skilled immigrants in three age classes (20-34, 35-49, and 50-64) are distinguished. Since most highly skilled immigrants are males who enter the USA as numerically restricted, we study only numerically restricted male immigrants. Annual data (1972-1991) for 86 source countries are pooled, and the Hausman-Taylor instrumental variable technique is used to estimate the regressions. Along with measures of differential economic opportunities, migration costs, and USA institutional controls, we incorporate a unique set of variables relating to social programs in source countries. Such programs prove to be significant determinants of the skill composition of USA immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-539
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Population Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011



  • Skill composition
  • Social programs
  • USA immigration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Economics and Econometrics

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