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Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program

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  • Devillanova, Carlo

    ()
    (Bocconi University)

  • Fasani, Francesco

    ()
    (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Frattini, Tommaso

    ()
    (University of Milan)

Abstract

This paper estimates the causal effect of the prospect of legal status on the employment outcomes of undocumented immigrants. Our identification strategy exploits a natural experiment provided by the 2002 amnesty program in Italy that introduced an exogenous discontinuity in eligibility based on date of arrival. We find that the prospect of legal status significantly increases the employment probability of immigrants that are potentially eligible for the amnesty relative to other undocumented immigrants. The size of the estimated effect is equivalent to about two thirds of the increase in employment that undocumented immigrants in our sample normally experience in their first year after arrival in Italy. These findings are robust to several falsification exercises.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8151.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8151

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Keywords: illegal immigration; natural experiment; legalization;

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  1. Andri Chassamboulli & Giovanni Peri, 2014. "The Labor Market Effects of Reducing Undocumented Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 19932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Mazzolari, Francesca, 2009. "Remittances to Latin America from Migrants in the United States: Assessing the Impact of Amnesty Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 4318, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Neeraj Kaushal, 2006. "Amnesty Programs and the Labor Market Outcomes of Undocumented Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
  4. McKenzie, David & Mistiaen, Johan, 2007. "Surveying Migrant Households: A Comparison of Census-Based, Snowball, and Intercept Point Surveys," IZA Discussion Papers 3173, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Giovanni Facchini & Cecilia Testa, 2010. "The rhetoric of closed borders: quotas, lax enforcement and illegal migration," Norface Discussion Paper Series, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London 2010001, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  8. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1986. "Illegal Immigration: The Host-Country Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 56-71, March.
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  11. Ying Pan, 2012. "The Impact of Legal Status on Immigrants’ Earnings and Human Capital: Evidence from the IRCA 1986," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 119-142, June.
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  13. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
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  16. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Sherrie A. Kossoudji & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2000. "IRCA's impact on the occupational concentration and mobility of newly-legalized Mexican men," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 81-98.
  18. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Cynthia Bansak, 2011. "The Impact of Amnesty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Panel Study Using the Legalized Population Survey," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1106, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  19. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A & Shiells, Clinton R & Lowell, B Lindsay, 1995. "Immigration Reform: The Effects of Employer Sanctions and Legalization on Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 472-98, July.
  20. Silvia Helena Barcellos, 2010. "Legalization and the Economic Status of Immigrants," Working Papers, RAND Corporation Publications Department 754, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  21. Alessandra Casarico & Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Spending More is Spending Less: Policy Dilemmas on Irregular Migration," Development Working Papers 330, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 27 Mar 2012.
  22. Chau, Nancy H, 2001. "Strategic Amnesty and Credible Immigration Reform," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 604-34, July.
  23. Devillanova, Carlo, 2008. "Social networks, information and health care utilization: Evidence from undocumented immigrants in Milan," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 265-286, March.
  24. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca," Demography, Springer, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 437-450, August.
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