David Card, perhaps the preeminent practicing academic economist holding a Canadian passport, was here today to give the annual McKenzie lecture, titled, well, "Immigration and Inequality". Fairly interesting. Basically, it argues that high school dropouts and high school grads with no postsecondary are perfect substitutes to employers, and grouping these categories together makes the education profile of immigrants match up with the education profile of Americans. So you do some econometrics and as that hypothesis suggests, American wage inequality is basically unchanged relative to the counterfactual of no immigration. Ungated working paper here.
However, as the guy sitting to my right with a zillion AERs kept gossiping to me about during the speech, the identification strategy wasn't being bought into all that much. Basically, it revolved around using the past history of immigrants to migrate to ethnic enclaves to IV for the supplies of different skill levels of labour with wages on the left hand side, since presumably immigration responds to economic opportunity, i.e. wages.
Anyway, it was nice to get to a seminar. Hausman gave a talk last Friday that I slipped into as well, extremely authoritative in front of an audience. I hear he's vicious from the audience. Next year should bring a lot more of these things, I'll probably be at all the macro bits. I'll talk about courses for next fall post-exams, which start Monday and end the next Monday.
POSTSCRIPT: No disrespect to David Card, but the most memorable part of the presentation was watching two 20-something graduate students muck with the control panel for the lights unsuccessfully, prompting 90-year-old Lionel McKenzie to come down to the floor and set the lights perfectly in approximately two seconds. Pretty good.