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Peri's work on Depression-era repatriation of Mexican immigrants featured in the Washington Post

A recent paper by Giovanni Peri, Professor and Chair of the UC Davis Economics Department, was featured today in the Washington Post.

In the early years of the Great Depression, targeted efforts by state and local governments resulted in the repatriation to Mexico of between 400,000 and 500,000 US residents of Mexican descent. Peri and his coauthors analyzed the effects of these large-scale repatriations and deportations on the employment and wages of native-born US workers. Using 1930 and 1940 Census data on the full population of US workers, they find that cities subject to a larger number of repatriations experienced no improvement in labor market conditions for US natives: if anything, these cities saw declines in native employment and corresponding increases in the local unemployment rate. Employment losses were strongest in skilled and administrative occupations that complemented the jobs formerly held by repatriated Mexicans.

The Post article draws parallels between Depression-era repatriations and recent federal repatriation policies, including plans announced this week to end Temporary Protected Status for about 200,000 Salvadorans residing in the United States.

The study is coauthored with Jongkwan Lee, a research fellow at the Korea Development Institute, and Vasil Yasenov, a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy. Lee and Yasenov are both recent graduates of the UC Davis Economics PhD program. The working paper, entitled "The Employment Effects of Mexican Repatriations: Evidence from the 1930's", was circulated by the National Bureau of Economic Research in September.