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

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  • 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. 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.
  2. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2009. "Does the Welfare State Affect Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants? Evidence across Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 295-314, May.
  3. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  4. Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2000. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers, Econometric Society 0839, Econometric Society.
  5. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Political economy, sectoral shocks, and border enforcement," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(3), pages 612-638, August.
  6. 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, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 127-143, Spring.
  7. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2007. "Public Finance And Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 1-33, 03.
  8. 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).
  9. Money, Jeannette, 1997. "No Vacancy: The Political Geography of Immigration Control in Advanced Industrial Countries," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 685-720, September.
  10. Timothy J. Hatton, 2004. "Seeking asylum in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 5-62, 04.
  11. Gianmarco I P Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," Working Papers, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei 2008.77, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  12. David Card, 2009. "Immigration and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 14683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Anna Maria & Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Do Interest Groups Affect Immigration?," IZA Discussion Papers 3183, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. 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, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
  16. Borge, Lars-Erik & Rattso, J.Jorn, 2004. "Income distribution and tax structure: Empirical test of the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 805-826, August.
  17. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 2005. "Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Policy in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5058, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Facchini, Giovanni & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "The political economy of international factor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, 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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