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The Effects of Enforcement on Illegal Markets: Evidence from Migrant Smuggling along the Southwestern Border

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Author Info

  • Gathmann, Christina

    ()
    (Heidelberg University)

Abstract

This paper analyzes how enforcement along the U.S.-Mexican border has affected the market for migrant smugglers. Using a unique dataset that links border crossing histories from illegal Mexican migrants to aggregate enforcement and punishment statistics, we find that the effect of enforcement on smuggling prices is small. Though enforcement has more than tripled over the past fifteen years, smuggling prices have increased by at most 30 percent. Unlike estimates from illegal drugs, the demand for border smugglers is however price elastic. We also show that illegal migrants have switched from heavily patrolled areas to more remote and dangerous crossing routes. These avoidance costs are in fact three times. the direct costs of enforcement on smuggling prices

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1004.

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Length: 67 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Public Economics, 2008, 92 (10-11), 1926-1941
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1004

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Related research

Keywords: Mexico; enforcement; illegal migration;

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References

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  1. Jeffrey A. Miron, 2003. "The Effect of Drug Prohibition on Drug Prices: Evidence from the Markets for Cocaine and Heroin," NBER Working Papers 9689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Angelucci, Manuela, 2005. "U.S. Border Enforcement and the Net Flow of Mexican Illegal Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 1642, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Saffer, Henry & Chaloupka, Frank, 1999. "The Demand for Illicit Drugs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 401-11, July.
  4. Tauchen, Helen & Witte, Ann Dryden & Griesinger, Harriet, 1994. "Criminal Deterrence: Revisiting the Issue with a Birth Cohort," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 399-412, August.
  5. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," NBER Working Papers 5592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Viscusi, W Kip, 1986. "The Risks and Rewards of Criminal Activity: A Comprehensive Test of Criminal Deterrence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 317-40, July.
  7. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1986. "Illegal Immigration: The Host-Country Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 56-71, March.
  8. Kuziemko, Ilyana & Levitt, Steven D., 2004. "An empirical analysis of imprisoning drug offenders," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2043-2066, August.
  9. Steven D. Levitt, 1995. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Policeon Crime," NBER Working Papers 4991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1977. "Capital Punishment and Deterrence: Some Further Thoughts and Additional Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(4), pages 741-88, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Gordon H. Hanson, 2009. "The Governance of Migration Policy," Human Development Research Papers (2009 to present) HDRP-2009-02, Human Development Report Office (HDRO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), revised Apr 2009.
  2. David Mckenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2004. "Network Effects and the Dynamics of Migration and Inequality: Theory and Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers 2004-3, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  3. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Harlan Koff, 2006. "On the Cutting Edge: Border Integration and Security in Europe and North America," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 21, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  5. Gordon H Hanson & Craig McIntosh, 2010. "The Great Mexican Emigration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 798-810, November.
  6. Florian Kaufmann, 2008. "Attracting Undocumented Immigrants: The Perverse Effects of U.S. Border Enforcement," Working Papers wp187, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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