Final Version of Mariel Study

My Mariel paper has now gone through the peer review process and it’s officially forthcoming at the Industrial and Labor Relations Review (the same journal that published Card’s original Mariel paper a quarter-century ago).


Here is a nice-looking graph that tells the whole story. The graph shows the 3-year moving average of the wage of male, non-Hispanic high school dropouts in and outside Miami between 1972 and 2002; the shaded area is a 95% confidence interval (i.e., the margin of error). It is obvious that something happened in Miami after 1980, the year of Mariel. It is also obvious that something happened in Miami after 1995, when coincidentally there was another large influx of Cuban refugees. All the data-fudging and wishful thinking in the world cannot change those simple facts. As I say in the paper, “The wage of high school dropouts in the Miami labor market fell significantly after the Mariel supply shock. Any attempt at rationalizing this fact as due to something other than the Marielitos will need to specify precisely what those other factors were.”

Here is the final version of the paper.

Here is the complete set of Stata programs and data extracts that will allow replication of every table and every figure.

And for the Doubting Thomases out there, here is me presenting an earlier draft of the paper at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics Summer Forum last month. One nice thing about the presentation is that I am able to derive the basic visual result in real time in only a few minutes, with an absolute minimum of statistical mumbo jumbo. The derivation begins shortly after the 6:30 mark in the video.


Author: George Borjas

I am a Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.