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What Drives U.S. Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes

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Author Info

  • Facchini, Giovanni

    ()
    (University of Nottingham)

  • Steinhardt, Max

    ()
    (Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg)

Abstract

Immigration is one of the most hotly debated policy issues in the United States today. Despite marked divergence of opinions within political parties, several important immigration reforms were introduced in the post 1965 era. The purpose of this paper is to systematically analyze the drivers of congressional voting behavior on immigration policy during the period 1970-2006, and in particular, to assess the role of economic factors at the district level. Our findings provide robust evidence that representatives of more skilled labor abundant constituencies are more likely to support an open immigration policy concerning unskilled labor. Thus, a simple factor-proportions-analysis model provides useful insights regarding the policy making process on one of the most controversial facets of globalization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5561.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Public Economics 2011, 95, 734-743
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5561

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Keywords: immigration policy; voting; political economy;

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References

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  1. Antonio Spilimbergo & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1337-1357, December.
  2. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," NBER Working Papers 14188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  4. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2007. "Does the Welfare State Affect Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants? Evidence Across Countries," Economics Discussion Papers 644, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  5. Timothy J. Hatton, 2004. "Seeking asylum in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 5-62, 04.
  6. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2004. "Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Policy in Europe," NBER Working Papers 10680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dustmann Christian & Preston Ian P, 2007. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-41, November.
  8. Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Anna Maria & Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Do Interest Groups Affect Immigration?," IZA Discussion Papers 3183, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2007. "Public Finance And Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 1-33, 03.
  10. David Card, 2009. "Immigration and Inequality," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0907, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  11. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
  12. Hanson, G.H. & Spilimbergo, A., 1999. "Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement," Working Papers 449, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  13. Borge, Lars-Erik & Rattso, J.Jorn, 2004. "Income distribution and tax structure: Empirical test of the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 805-826, August.
  14. Mayda, Anna Maria, 2004. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 1115, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Money, Jeannette, 1997. "No Vacancy: The Political Geography of Immigration Control in Advanced Industrial Countries," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 685-720, September.
  16. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
  17. Jorge G. Gonzalez & Nipoli Kamdar, 2000. "Do Not Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor! Determinants of Legislator Voting on Immigration Issues," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 127-143, Spring.
  18. Facchini, Giovanni & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "The political economy of international factor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 201-219, September.
  19. George J. Borjas, 2006. "Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
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