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Do Interest Groups Affect U.S. Immigration Policy?

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  • Prachi Mishra
  • Giovanni Facchini
  • Anna Maria Mayda

Abstract

While anecdotal evidence suggests that interest groups play a key role in shaping immigration policy, there is no systematic empirical analysis of this issue. In this paper, we construct an industry-level dataset for the United States, by combining information on the number of temporary work visas with data on lobbying activity associated with immigration. We find robust evidence that both pro- and anti-immigration interest groups play a statistically significant and economically relevant role in shaping migration across sectors. Barriers to migration are lower in sectors in which business interest groups incur larger lobby expenditures and higher in sectors where labor unions are more important.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 08/244.

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Length: 56
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:08/244

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Keywords: Political economy; Industrial sector; Labor unions; expenditures; interest groups; unemployment rate; expenditure; international trade; free trade; open economy; unskilled labor; unskilled workers; bargaining power; border enforcement; trade restrictions; factor markets; wholesale trade; free labor mobility; free labor; capital expenditures; total expenditure; factor price; country of origin; expenditure data; free trade in goods; free-rider problem; unit of labor; metal products; total expenditures; political majority; free riding; import competition; commercial policy; exchange rate regime; domestic firms; food industry; illegal immigration; trade barriers; country of destination; common market; economic integration;

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