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Robert W. Scrivner Research Professor of Economics and Social Policy


The author’s 2017 reappraisal of the impact of the Mariel supply shock revealed that the wage of low-skill workers declined in post-Mariel Miami. Clemens and Hunt (2019) assert that a data quirk in the March CPS—specifically, a substantial increase in the black share of Miami’s low-skill workforce in the period—implies that those wage trends do not correctly measure the impact of the Marielitos. Because blacks earn less than whites earn, the increased black share would spuriously reduce the average low-skill wage in Miami. The author examines the sensitivity of the evidence to the change in the racial composition of the sample. The Clemens and Hunt assertion is demonstrably false. The timing of the post-Mariel decline in Miami’s wage does not coincide with the increase in the black share. And sensible adjustments for racial composition do not change the finding that Miami’s low-skill wage fell after 1980.


Borjas, George. "The Wage Impact of the Marielitos: The Role of Race." Industrial and Labor Relations Review (August 2019).