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Economic Brief

Oct. 20, 2021

Richmond Fed Research Examines Impact of Immigration on Native Workers

Firms play a significant role in immigration, often effectively deciding who gets into the country through screening and sponsoring immigrants. Given the important role that firms can play in immigration, a recent Economic Brief from the Richmond Fed examines the impact of immigration from the firm side.

Economist Nicolas Morales and doctoral candidate Agostina Brinatti find that large firms spend higher shares of their payroll on immigrants than small firms. They also find that immigration positively impacts native workers, and while increased labor competition may put some downward pressure on wages, some firms specialize more in immigrant labor and other firms specialize in native labor, mitigating some of the pressure on wages.

The Richmond Fed’s Economic Brief series provides essays on economic issues and trends. Sign up to receive an email notification when a new essay is posted.


As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District — including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia — to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.


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