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This paper examines immigration and the wages of foreign and native nurses in the US labor market. Data from the Current Population Survey identifies a worker’s country of birth and the National Survey of Registered Nurses (NSRN) identifies nurses who received their basic training outside the US. In 2004 about 3.1% of the registered nurse (RN) workforce is foreign-born non-US citizens, and 3.3% received their basic education elsewhere. The principal countries of origin are the Philippines, Canada, India, and England. Regression results show a 4.5% lower wage for non-citizen nurses born outside of the US (Canadian nurses are an exception). The wage disadvantage is concentrated on foreign-born nurses new to the US; once a nurse has been in the US for 6 years there is no longer a significant penalty. Results from the NSRN show relatively little overall wage differences between RNs who received their basic training outside versus inside the US, but there is a significant wage disadvantage for those new to the US market. The presence of foreign-trained nurses appears to decrease earnings for native RNs, but the effects are small.





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Health Economics