Touted Immigration Economist Received Grant From Company Lobbying For Amnesty

An economist whose research finding increased immigration does not depress the wages of American workers that was touted by liberal pundits received a $50,000 grant from Microsoft in 2011, a company lobbying for amnesty.

The economist, Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis, said he has “never talked to any person at Microsoft since” he received the five-figure gift and that the company did not overtly try to influence his research.

This month, Peri published a new study arguing increases in immigration do not depress wages for native workers.

“Politicians, the media, and the public express concern that immigrants depress wages by competing with native workers, but 30 years of empirical research provide little supporting evidence to this claim,” Peri wrote.

“Most studies for industrialized countries have found no effect on wages, on average, and only modest effects on wage differentials between more and less educated immigrant and native workers. Native workers’ wages have been insulated by differences in skills, adjustments in local demand and technology, production expansion, and specialization of native workers as immigration rises,” he added.

Lydia DePillis at the Washington Post’s WonkBlog touted the study in a post headlined, “Immigration Helps American Workers: The Definitive Argument.”

Microsoft, headquartered in Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' (R-WA) district, has been a significant player in the immigration debate.

For example, Microsoft’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Legal and Corporate Affairs Brad Smith testified in favor of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee when it was introduced, praising its sponsors’ “superb bipartisan spirit” when it was introduced.

In an email to Breitbart News, Peri said, “My agenda has been researching on effects of immigration (high and low skills) for the last 10 years, and I received some funding from organization, foundations, non-profit and many other (as you have seen). They gave me a gift as (I believe) they appreciated past research I did. They never talked to me about what to do leave alone how to do it.”

“They have been totally out of my research,” he added.



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