Farm Employment, Immigration, and Poverty: A Structural Analysis

This study tests for structural change in the poverty-farm employment relationship between 1980 and 1990. Econometric findings from a partially simultaneous block triangular regression model estimated with census data reveal a circular relationship between farm employment and immigration that was associated with a significant decrease in the number of people in impoverished U.S. households in 1980. However, in 1990, the farm employment-poverty relationship reversed: an additional farm job was associated with an increase in poverty. Our findings suggest immigration to fill low-skilled farm jobs is transferring poverty from rural Mexico to communities in the United States.


Martin, Philip L.; Taylor, J. Edward, Farm Employment, Immigration, and Poverty: A Structural Analysis, Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Volume 28, Issue 2, August 2003, Pages 349–363

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