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Pia M. Orrenius

Vice President and Senior Economist
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Pia Orrenius

Orrenius is a labor economist working on regional economic growth and demographic change. She manages the regional and microeconomics group in the Dallas Fed Research Department, is executive editor of the quarterly publication Southwest Economy and co-edited Ten Gallon Economy: Sizing up Economic Growth in Texas (2015, Palgrave MacMillan). Her academic research focuses on the labor market impacts of immigration, unauthorized immigration and U.S. immigration policy. She is coauthor of the book Beside the Golden Door: U.S. Immigration Reform in a New Era of Globalization (2010, AEI Press).

Orrenius is affiliated with several academic institutions. She is research fellow at the Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs and the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center at Southern Methodist University and at the IZA Institute of Labor in Bonn, Germany, as well as adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Orrenius is also adjunct professor at Baylor University (Dallas campus), where she teaches in the executive MBA program. Orrenius was senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President, Washington D.C., in 2004–05, where she advised the Bush administration on labor, health and immigration issues. She holds a PhD in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles and bachelor degrees in economics and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana—Champaign.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Research Department, 1999–present
  • Adjunct Professor, Baylor University (Dallas campus), Executive MBA Program
  • President's Council of Economic Advisers, 2004–05, Senior Economist

Academic Affiliations

  • Adjunct Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C.
  • Tower Center Senior Fellow, Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs at Southern Methodist University
  • Research Fellow, IZA Institute of Labor in Bonn, Germany
  • Senior Fellow, Mission Foods Texas–Mexico Center at Southern Methodist University
  • Fellow, Transatlantic Forum on Migration and Integration, German Marshall Fund


  • University of California at Los Angeles
    PhD in economics, 1999
  • University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign, Illinois
    BA in economics, 1990 (magna cum laude)
    BA in Spanish, 1990

Editorial Boards

  • Journal of Human Resources
  • Southern Economic Journal
  • International Migration Review
  • IZA Journal of Migration

Professional Service

Journal Publications

Books and Edited Volumes

  • Ten-Gallon Economy: Sizing up Texas’ Economic Growth, Pia M. Orrenius, Jesus Cañas and Michael Weiss, eds. Palgrave MacMillan, 2015.
  • Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective, James F. Hollifield, Philip L. Martin and Pia M. Orrenius, eds., Stanford University Press, 2014.
  • Beside the Golden Door: U.S. Immigration Reform in a New Era of Globalization, with Madeline Zavodny, American Enterprise Institute, 2010.
  • Migration, Trade and Development: Conference Proceedings, James Hollifield, Pia Orrenius and Thomas Osang, eds., Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, 2007.

Essays, Book Chapters and Reports

  • “How Does Immigration Fit into the Future of the US Labor Market?,” with Madeline Zavodny and Stephanie Gullo, MPI Policy Brief, August 2019.
  • “Enforcement and Illegal Migration,” IZA World of Labor, November 2019.
  • “The US Needs Workers, not a Wall” with Madeline Zavodny, AEI Economic Perspectives, March 2019.
  • “Do Immigrants Threaten US Public Safety?” with Madeline Zavodny, The Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University, March 2019.
  • “Does Migration Cause Income Inequality? Evidence from Mexico and the United States,” with Madeline Zavodny, SMU Texas-Mexico Center Policy Brief, May 2018.
    Spanish version
  • “Prices Not Points: A Post-Brexit Immigration Solution,” with Madeline Zavodny, Adam Smith Institute Briefing Paper, March 2018.
  • “Too Many Immigrants? No, We Need More,” in The Catalyst, Bush Institute, Issue 9, Winter 2018.
  • “Less-Skilled Immigration: Economic Effects and Policy Responses,” with Madeline Zavodny, in The US Labor Market: Questions and Challenges for Public Policy, Michael R. Strain, ed., American Enterprise Institute, 2016.
  • “Unauthorized Mexican Workers in the United States: Recent Inflows and Possible Future Scenarios,” with Madeline Zavodny, Center for Global Development Working Paper 436, September 2016.
  • “The Real Story Behind Mexican Immigration: And What It Means for the U.S. Economy,” Bush Institute, July 2016.
  • “Benefits of Immigration Outweigh the Costs,” in The Catalyst, Bush Institute, Issue 2, 2016.
  • “An Economic Perspective on Immigration Policy vis-à-vis Mexico” with Jason Saving and Madeline Zavodny, in Mexican Migration to the United States: Perspectives from Both Sides of the Border, Harriett D. Romo and Olivia Mogollon-Lopez, eds., UT Press, 2016.
  • “Undocumented Immigration and Human Trafficking,” with Madeline Zavodny, in Handbooks in Economics: Economics of International Migration, Barry R. Chiswick and Paul W. Miller, eds., North Holland, 2014
  • “Immigrants in Risky Occupations,” with Madeline Zavodny, in International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann eds., Edward Elgar, 2013.
  • Overhauling the Temporary Work Visa System,” with Giovanni Peri and Madeline Zavodny, in The Hamilton Project’s 15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget, Brooking Institute, February 2013
  • “Regularization Programs,” with Madeline Zavodny, in The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, Immanuel Ness, ed., Wiley-Blackwell, 2013
  • “Trends in Poverty and Inequality Among Hispanics,” with Madeline Zavodny, in The Economics of Inequality, Poverty and Discrimination in the 21st Century, Robert S. Rycroft, ed., Praeger, 2013.
  • “Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Market,” with Madeline Zavodny, Latin America Initiative Immigration Research Project Working Paper, Baker Institute, Rice University, 2013.
  • “How Immigrants and U.S. Natives Fare during Recessions and Recoveries,” with Madeline Zavodny, in Immigrants in a Changing Labor Market: Responding to Economic Needs Michael Fix, Demetrios Papademetrious, and Madeleine Sumption, eds., Wiley-Blackwell, 2013
  • “The Process of Unauthorized Crossing at the U.S.–Mexico Border,” with Fernando Riosmena, in Options for Estimating Illegal Entries at the U.S.–Mexico Border, National Research Council 2012.
  • “Economic Effects of Migration: Receiving States,” with Madeline Zavodny, in The Oxford Handbook of The Politics of International Migration, Marc R. Rosenblum and Daniel J. Tichenor, eds., Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • “Immigration and Growth,” with Madeline Zavodny, in The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs, Brendan Miniter, ed., Crown Business, 2012.
  • “Remittances as an Economic Development Engine,” with Madeline Zavodny, Jesus Cañas, and Roberto Coronado, in Migration and Remittances from Mexico: Trends, Impacts and New Challenges, Alfredo Cuecuecha and Carla Pederzini, eds., Lexington Books, 2012.
  • “The Immigration Enforcement System,” with Susan Clarke and Marc Rosenblum, in Budgeting for Immigration Enforcement: A Path to Better Performance, Steven Redburn, Peter Reuter, and Malay Majmundar (eds.), National Research Council 2011.
  • “The Minimum Wage and Latino Workers,” with Madeline Zavodny, in Latinos and the Economy: Integration and Impact in Schools, Labor Markets and Beyond, David Leal and Stephen Trejo, eds., Springer, 2011.
  • “Tied to the Business Cycle: How Immigrants Fare in Good and Bad Economic Times,” with Madeline Zavodny, Migration Policy Institute, 2009.
  • “Differences between Mexican Migration to the U.S. Border and Interior: Evidence from Mexican Survey Data,” with Leslie Lukens and Madeline Zavodny, in Labor Market Issues Along the U.S.–Mexico Border, Marie T. Mora and Alberto Dávila, eds., University of Arizona Press, 2009.
  • “U.S.–Mexico Remittances: Recent Trends and Measurement Issues,” with Jesus Cañas and Roberto Coronado, in Migration, Trade and Development: Conference Proceedings, James Hollifield, Pia Orrenius and Thomas Osang, eds., Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, 2007.
  • “Border Crime and Border Enforcement,” with Roberto Coronado in Basic Border Econometrics, Martha Patricia Barraza de Anda and Thomas M. Fullerton Jr., eds.; Universidad Autonoma de Cd. Juarez, 2007.  
  • “Mexico–U.S. Migration: Economic Effects and Policy Impacts,” in The Changing Structure of Mexico, Laura Randall, ed., M.E.Sharpe, 2006.
  • “The Effect of U.S. Border Enforcement on the Crossing Behavior of Mexican Migrants,” in Crossing the Border: Research from the Mexican Migration Project, Jorge Durand and Douglas S. Massey, eds., Russell Sage Foundation, 2004.

Dallas Fed Publications

Working Papers

Pia Orrenius