Date of Award

December 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Member

Scott R Templeton

Committee Member

Devon Gorry

Committee Member

Michael D Makowsky


The issue of whether immigration can adversely impact the earnings of domestic workers in the receiving region is a hotly contested one, even amongst economists. In this paper, I analyze the effects Vietnamese refugees had on wages in nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area in the first half of the 1980s. I exploit the existence of exogenous variation in Vietnamese refugee settlements across the San Francisco Bay Area counties and use a difference-in-difference design with continuous treatment to obtain my results. I find the arrival of Vietnamese refugees has a statistically significant positive effect on wages. Increased consumption, productivity, and specialization and the existence of government assistance programs all likely play roles in the manifestation of positive effects on wages due to the arrival of immigrants.



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