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The Labor Market Value to Legal Status

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Author Info

  • Lozano, Fernando A.

    ()
    (Pomona College)

  • Sorensen, Todd A.

    ()
    (University of California, Riverside)

Abstract

We present estimates of the effect of legal immigration status on earnings of undocumented workers. Our contribution to the literature centers on a two-step procedure that allows us to first estimate the legal status of an immigrant and then estimate the effect of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) on immigrants’ labor market outcomes using a triple difference approach. From a sample of young to middle aged Mexican men, our results show that IRCA causes a 20 log point increase in labor market earnings of Mexican immigrants over the long run, and that nearly all of this increase is in the occupational wage. These results suggest that the primary disadvantage for undocumented workers is the type of jobs that they are able to obtain. We estimate the model for immigrants from other countries not benefiting from IRCA to the extent that Mexican immigrants did, and find no systematic bias towards positive and significant results.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5492.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5492

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Related research

Keywords: immigration; legal status; immigration reform;

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Cited by:
  1. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Legal status and the criminal activity of immigrants," Working Papers 052, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  2. Ying Pan, 2012. "The Impact of Legal Status on Immigrants’ Earnings and Human Capital: Evidence from the IRCA 1986," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 119-142, June.
  3. Katarzyna Budnik, 2011. "Emigration Triggers: International Migration of Polish Workers between 1994 and 2009," National Bank of Poland Working Papers 90, National Bank of Poland, Economic Institute.
  4. Pia M. Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny, 2012. "The Economic Consequences of Amnesty for Unauthorized Immigrants," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 32(1), pages 85-106, Winter.
  5. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2014. "The Ups and Downs in Women's Employment: Shifting Composition or Behavior from 1970 to 2010?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 14-212, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

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