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Virtual Seminar | The Importance of Immigrant Workers for American Homebuilding
Wednesday, November 29, 2023, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT
Category: Events

Date: Wednesday November 29th at 11:00 AM Eastern Time

Speaker:  Dayin Zhang (University of Wisconsin – Madison)

Paper Title: “The Importance of Immigrant Workers for American Homebuilding”

Abstract: U.S. housing markets have faced a secular shortage of housing supply in the past decade. Low homebuilding has contributed to a steadily increasing nationwide reductions in housing affordability. Most supply-side explanations in the literature have tended to focus on the distortionary effect of local housing regulations. This paper provides novel evidence on a less-explored channel affecting housing supply: shortages of construction labor. We exploit the staggered rollout of a national increase in immigration enforcement to identify negative shocks to construction sector employment that are likely exogenous with respect to local housing market conditions. We show that treated counties experience large and persistent reductions in residential construction activity, using measures of both planned and realized construction activity. This reduced housing supply is associated with increases in home prices. We also show that domestic inflows to the construction sector do not fully offset immigration-related reductions in labor supply. Further, evidence suggests that undocumented labor is a complement to domestic labor:  increased immigration enforcement leads to reduced labor supplied by domestic construction workers, and less work on average for individuals remaining in the sector.

Paper Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BVVxUqpDudiGpkK8BmTRiKLU9l8ACHto/view?usp=sharing

Registration Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_D2h7_RC9QCWhH9jMRm-PEQ

Contact: David Low | [email protected]