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The Allocation of Immigrant Talent: Macroeconomic Implications for the U.S. and Across Countries

We quantify the labor market barriers that immigrants face, using an occupational choice model with natives and immigrants of multiple types subject to wedges that distort their allocations. We find sizable output gains from removing immigrant wedges in the U.S., representing 25% of immigrants' overall economic contribution, and that these wedges alter the impact of alternative immigration policies. We harmonize microdata across 19 economies and exploit cross-country variation in immigrant outcomes and estimated wedges to examine the drivers of differences in wedges and gains from their removal. Finally, we relate the estimated wedges with external cross-country measures of immigrant barriers.

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