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The Impact of Amnesty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Panel Study Using the Legalized Population Survey

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  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes

    ()
    (San Diego State University)

  • Cynthia Bansak

    (St. Lawrence University)

Abstract

This paper tests whether amnesty, a provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), affected the labor market outcomes of the legalized population. Using the Legalized Population Survey (LPS) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) from 1987-1992, a quasi-experimental framework is developed to assess the differential impact of amnesty on the legalized population relative to a comparison group. After the implementation of the amnesty program, employment fell and unemployment rose for newly legalized men relative to the comparison group of already legal U.S. residents. For women, employment also fell and transitions out of the workforce increased among the newly legalized population. Increasing returns to skill, as captured by English proficiency, only played an important role in explaining the employment of newly legalized women. Finally, newly legalized men and women enjoyed higher wage growth rates than their working native counterparts, perhaps owing to their comparatively growing returns to U.S. educational attainment over this period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 1106.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1106

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  1. Black, Dan A, 1995. "Discrimination in an Equilibrium Search Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 309-33, April.
  2. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 437-450, August.
  3. Frank Bean & B. Lowell & Lowell Taylor, 1988. "Undocumented Mexican immigrants and the earnings of other workers in the United States," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 35-52, February.
  4. Cynthia Bansak & Steven Raphael, 2001. "Immigration reform and the earnings of Latino workers: Do employer sanctions cause discrimination?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 275-295, January.
  5. Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz, 1999. "Undocumented workers in the labor market: An analysis of the earnings of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 91-116.
  6. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A & Shiells, Clinton R & Lowell, B Lindsay, 1995. "Immigration Reform: The Effects of Employer Sanctions and Legalization on Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 472-98, July.
  7. Sherrie A. Kossoudji & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2002. "Coming out of the Shadows: Learning about Legal Status and Wages from the Legalized Population," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 598-628, July.
  8. C. Bansak & S. Raphael, . "Immigration Reform and the Earnings of Latino Workers: Do Employer Sanctions Cause Discrimination?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty 1181-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  9. Bernt Bratsberg & James F. Ragan & Zafar M. Nasir, 2002. "The Effect of Naturalization on Wage Growth: A Panel Study of Young Male Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 568-597, July.
  10. Neeraj Kaushal, 2006. "Amnesty Programs and the Labor Market Outcomes of Undocumented Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
  11. Sherrie A. Kossoudji & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2000. "IRCA's impact on the occupational concentration and mobility of newly-legalized Mexican men," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 81-98.
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Cited by:
  1. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Bansak, Cynthia, 2013. "Employment Verification Mandates and the Labor Market Outcomes of Likely Unauthorized and Native Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 7419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Carlo Devillanova & Francesco Fasani & Tommaso Frattini, 2014. "Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program," CReAM Discussion Paper Series, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London 1415, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  3. Pia M. Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny, 2012. "The Economic Consequences of Amnesty for Unauthorized Immigrants," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 32(1), pages 85-106, Winter.
  4. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Cynthia Bansak, 2013. "Employment Verification Mandates and the Labor Market Outcomes of Likely Unauthorized and Native Workers," CReAM Discussion Paper Series, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London 1312, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  5. Joël MACHADO, 2012. "On the welfare impacts of an immigration amnesty," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales), Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) 2012010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  6. Kalena E. Cortes, 2013. "Achieving the DREAM: The Effect of IRCA on Immigrant Youth Postsecondary Educational Access," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 428-32, May.

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