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Politics, unemployment, and the enforcement of immigration law

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  • Michael Makowsky

    ()

  • Thomas Stratmann

    ()

Abstract

Immigration control-related audits and their resulting sanctions are not solely determined by impartial enforcement of laws and regulations. They are also determined by the incentives faced by vote-maximizing politicians, agents acting on their behalf, and workers likely to compete with immigrants in the local labor market. In this paper, we use a unique data set to test the extent to which congressional oversight determines the bureaucratic immigration enforcement process. We examine the decisions made at each stage of enforcement from over 40,000 audits from 1990 to 2000. This includes analysis of (1) whether a firm is found in violation, (2) whether a fine is issued, (3) the size of the fine issued, and (4) how much of a dollar reduction fined employers were able to negotiate. We find that the number of audits conducted increases with local unemployment. We also find that a congressman’s party affiliation and its interaction with committee membership and party majority status, as well as firm size and local union membership, correlate to decisions made at every stage of enforcement. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 160 (2014)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 131-153

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:160:y:2014:i:1:p:131-153

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

Related research

Keywords: Immigration; Regulation; Enforcement; Congressional oversight; J61; K31; K42;

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  1. Benjamin Powell, 2012. "Coyote ugly: the deadweight cost of rent seeking for immigration policy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 195-208, January.
  2. Michael D. Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2011. "More Tickets, Fewer Accidents: How Cash-Strapped Towns Make for Safer Roads," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 863 - 888.
  3. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
  4. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(4), pages 869-924, December.
  5. Makowsky, Michael & Sanders, Shane, 2013. "Political costs and fiscal benefits: The political economy of residential property value assessment under Proposition 212," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 359-363.
  6. Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 510-530, August.
  7. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," NBER Working Papers 4955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Michael D. Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "Political Economy at Any Speed: What Determines Traffic Citations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 509-27, March.
  9. Ferejohn, John & Shipan, Charles, 1990. "Congressional Influence on Bureaucracy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(0), pages 1-20.
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  13. Withers, Glenn & Pope, David, 1985. "Immigration and Unemployment," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 61(173), pages 554-63, June.
  14. Giovanni Facchini & Max Steinhardt, 2010. "What drives US Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes," Development Working Papers 294, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  15. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Political economy, sectoral shocks, and border enforcement," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(3), pages 612-638, August.
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  17. Winegarden, C R & Khor, Lay Boon, 1991. "Undocumented Immigration and Unemployment of U.S. Youth and Minority Workers: Econometric Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(1), pages 105-12, February.
  18. Bryan Caplan, 2002. "Systematically Biased Beliefs About Economics: Robust Evidence of Judgemental Anomalies from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 433-458, April.
  19. Puhani, Patrick A, 2000. " The Heckman Correction for Sample Selection and Its Critique," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 53-68, February.
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  21. Juergen Jung & Michael Makowsky, 2014. "The determinants of federal and state enforcement of workplace safety regulations: OSHA inspections 1990–2010," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 1-33, February.
  22. Terry M. Moe, 2012. "Delegation, Control, and the Study of Public Bureaucracy
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