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Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement

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  • Gordon H. Hanson
  • Antonio Splimbergo

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the correlation between sectoral shocks and border enforcement in the United States. Enforcement of national borders is the main policy instrument the U.S. government uses to combat illegal immigration. The motivation for the exercise is to see whether border enforcement falls following positive shocks to sectors that are intensive in the use of undocumented labor, as would be consistent with political economy models of how enforcement policy against illegal immigration is determined. The main finding is that border enforcement is negatively correlated with lagged relative price changes in the apparel, fruits and vegetables, and slaughtered livestock industries and with housing starts in the western United States. This suggests that authorities relax border enforcement when the demand for undocumented workers is high.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7315.

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Date of creation: Aug 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7315

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  1. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 21-92, Tel Aviv.
  2. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Kevin Lang, 1991. "Undocumented Mexican-born Workers in the United States: How Many, How Permanent?," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market, pages 77-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sapir, Andre, 1983. "Foreign competition, immigration and structural adjustment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 381-394, May.
  4. Djajic, Slobodan, 1997. "Illegal Immigration and Resource Allocation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(1), pages 97-117, February.
  5. Pravin Krishna & Devashish Mitra, 1999. "A Theory of Unilateralism and Reciprocity in Trade Policy," Working Papers 99-9, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. H. Moehring, 1988. "Symbol versus substance in legislative activity: The case of illegal immigration," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 287-294, June.
  7. Gabriella Bucci & Rafael Tenorio, 1996. "On financing the internal enforcement of illegal immigration policies," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 65-81, February.
  8. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldbe & Giovanni Maggi, 1997. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 5942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Richard B. Freeman, 1982. "Crime and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 1031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Bond, Eric W. & Chen, Tain-Jy, 1987. "The welfare effects of illegal immigration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 315-328, November.
  11. 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.
  12. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, October.
  13. Djajic, Slobodan, 1987. "Illegal aliens, unemployment and immigration policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 235-249, February.
  14. Godfrey, L G, 1994. "Testing for Serial Correlation by Variable Addition in Dynamic Models Estimated by Instrumental Variables," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 550-59, August.
  15. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1986. "Illegal Immigration: The Host-Country Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 56-71, March.
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