NBER Call for Papers - Immigrants and the U.S. Economy

November 3, 2020

NBER Call for Papers
Immigrants and the U.S. Economy
March 11-12, 2021 – Virtual Conference

Submission deadline: Dec. 3, 2020 via the following link:


Social scientists have long sought to understand the underlying mechanisms that promote and impede the successful adaptation of immigrants and of their children. The economic and social experiences of current immigrants to the U.S., and their children, may be substantially different from those of European immigrants of the early twentieth century.   Two legislative landmarks, the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act and the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, may have had a particularly important effect on the immigrant experience. The growing diversity of immigrants, their countries of origin, their destinations in the U.S., and the circumstances motivating their migration, also call for revisiting classic questions about immigrant integration. The heterogeneity of immigrant experiences is important not only in its own right, but also because it may influence economic, ethnic, and racial inequality as well as intergenerational mobility.

To promote research on these issues, the NBER will convene a virtual conference on the mechanisms that promote and impede adaptation of today’s U.S. immigrants and their children, as well as the changing economic circumstances of immigrants. The conference, which will be held on Thursday-Friday, March 11-12, 2021, will be organized by NBER researchers Aimee Chin (University of Houston) and Kalena Cortes (Texas A&M University).

Research on any issue pertaining to the economic and social effects of U.S. immigration and immigration policy are welcome. Particular topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • How have past and current immigration policies, at all levels of government, affected the economic and social experiences of U.S. immigrants? Policies might include Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and increased levels of immigration enforcement through deportations, e-Verify, and other initiatives. How have policy changes affected U.S.-born children in mixed-legal status families as well as other natives?

  • How has the economic and cultural integration process changed for recent cohorts of immigrants relative to earlier immigrants?  

  • How have changing geographic settlement patterns among recent immigrants affected the economic and social experiences of immigrants?  How do communities adjust to the arrival of new immigrants, for example in adapting school systems? What are the labor market experiences of recent immigrants, with respect to occupation and labor market segmentation? Are recent immigrants still primarily working in low-skilled, low-paying jobs?  Which cities choose to be “sanctuary cities”?

  • Is the intergenerational mobility of recent immigrants different from that of immigrants in earlier decades? What is the role of parental immigrant background in children’s outcomes, including human capital formation, wages, occupational choice, family formation, neighborhood choice, identity, and community participation? How does the mobility of immigrants influence broader measures of the mobility of under-represented minority groups in the U.S.? How does the degree of economic integration for immigrants affect racial and ethnic inequalities in the U.S.?

The NBER welcomes submissions of both empirical and theoretical research on all aspects of immigration, including papers by scholars who are early in their careers, who are not NBER affiliates, and who are from groups that are under-represented in the economics profession. To be considered for inclusion on the program, papers must be uploaded by midnight (EST) December 3, 2020 via the following link:


Complete papers are preferred, but extended abstracts may also be submitted.  Please do not submit papers that have been accepted for publication and that will be published by February, 2021. Authors chosen to present papers will be notified in early January, 2021.    

All co-authors will be invited to participate in the virtual conference. Questions about this conference may be addressed to confer@nber.org.  


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