ESSAYS ON THE ECONOMICS OF IMMIGRATION IN COLOMBIA
Between 2015 and 2019, approximately 1.8 million Venezuelans fled into neighboring Colombia, increasing Colombia’s population by almost 4%. In this dissertation, I study the effects of this large and unprecedented migration wave on Colombian labor market outcomes and attitudes towards foreigners. In Chapter 1, I study the economic effects of the migration using variation in the migration rate across 79 metropolitan areas, labor survey data, and an instrumental variable strategy based on historical migration rates. I find that Venezuelan migration caused a moderate decrease in the hourly wages of native Colombians that is most concentrated among low-wage and informal workers. Existing studies of this migration wave using similar methods and data have estimated different magnitudes for this wage effect, and I demonstrate the differences in specification that drive these discrepancies. In Chapter 2, I study the consequences of migrant occupational downgrading by estimating an aggregate production function that incorporates imperfect substitutability between migrants and natives and migrant occupational downgrading. I find that downgrading concentrates economic competition among less educated natives and decreases output in both the short- and long-term, thus affecting both wage equality and productivity. In Chapter 3, I study the effect of migration on trust towards foreigners using a nationwide survey on social preferences. While migration has no effect on trust on average, the effect is positive in municipalities that are more urbanized, have greater access to high-quality public goods, and where there is more residential integration between migrants and natives.
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