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2007.11.12 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@mail.unomaha.edu

Nebraska Immigrant Economic Impact Project Launched at UNO

Omaha - The Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS) and the College of Business Administration (CBA) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) have teamed up to conduct research and produce a report on the economic impact of immigration on the urban and rural economies of Nebraska. Christopher Decker, associate professor of economics, has been named Mammel Faculty in Residence with OLLAS and principal investigator for the project. Jerry Deichert, director of UNO’s Center of Public Affairs Research, will assist the project with census-based data.

The economic impact of immigration on Nebraska has been a matter of great speculation for a long time. Policy-makers and community agencies have often expressed the need for a rigorous assessment of such an impact which goes beyond anecdotal evidence. The research, a first of its kind in the state, is a major step toward filling this knowledge gap.

The study design will allow for two major types of findings. The first is a measure of the impact of immigration on the “supply side” of markets (i.e., on employers) by focusing attention on direct employment effects of key sectors inclined to employ new immigrants. The second set of findings will be at the sector (industry) level and will assess the impact of immigration on the “demand side” (i.e., the workers) by focusing on the direct expenditures by new immigrant populations to the area.

“Such an analysis should provide a richer understanding of the economic impact of immigration on regional economies and appears to represent an improvement over existing studies that tend in large measure to consider only the consumption side of the economic impact,” Decker said. 

OLLAS is proud to have formed this partnership with such a prestigious UNO college and scholar to respond to the need for such a serious study. Partial funding for the study comes from the U.S. Department of Education and the College of Business Administration.

However, OLLAS is seeking additional sponsors for the project. Lourdes Gouveia, OLLAS director, believes strongly that “this is the kind of project everyone will benefit from. We need better data that tells us where immigrants are contributing the most, if there are important barriers that may diminish those contributions, and whether there are any areas of concern with regard to labor market competition we need to address as a matter of economic development and labor policies.”

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