The Mariel boatlift was a mass emigration of Cubans to the United States between April and October 1980. The majority of these Cubans settled in Florida, with many of them settling in Miami. The influx offers an interesting real-world example of a large migrant influx into a small region over a brief period of time and its effects on the receiving economy, culture, and society.
Below are links to discussions of the Mariel Boatlift and its implications.
- The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market by David Card, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 43, No. 2 (1990). The study claimed to find that migration did not affect the local labor market negatively. This is now considered a seminal study in understanding the effects of migration on labor markets, and was the first of many studies on these effects, as documented on our page on An Infinite Contradiction by Bryan Caplan, noting the contradiction between Card’s research on the minimum wage and his research on the effect of migration on labor markets, and concluding that the model of the labor market that emerged from the latter was closer to reality.
- The Wage Impact of the Marielitos: A Reappraisal by George Borjas, that attempted to replicate Card’s analysis and claimed to find that migration had a negative effect on the local labor market.
- Why a new study of the Mariel boatlift has not changed our views on the benefits of immigration by David Roodman, in response to Borjas’ new study.