Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



The aging economies facing secular labor shortage are bound to respond by admitting foreign labor or by adopting labor-saving technology. This paper proposes that inflows of regional foreign labor guides the penetration of automation. I develop a dynamic spatial framework, in which tasks are optimally allocated across robots, and domestic or foreign labor. Then, I semi-parametrically recover cross-factor substitution schedules from a series of commuting zone-level elasticities of economic outcomes with respect to immigration, which are estimated using a 1940 ethnic settlement pattern. The model predicts that immigrationճ impact on wages during 1980-2015 could be reversed by including effects from immigration-induced adjustments of automation. I find that low-skilled immigration alone reduces routine occupation native wages, but raises the wages in the long run by retarding the adoption of automation, resulting in enhanced domestic welfare. Finally, I find that a universal basic income policy targeted to U. S. citizens will boost dependence on automation and foreign labor by upshifting routine occupation native wages.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

George-Levi Gayle

Committee Members

Gaetano Antinolfi, Francisco Buera, Alexander Monge-Naranjo, Yongseok Shin,

Available for download on Wednesday, May 15, 2120

Included in

Economics Commons