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Illegal migration, wages and remittances- semi-parametric estimation of illegality effects

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  • Wahba, Jackline
  • Schluter, Christian
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    Abstract

    We consider the issue of illegal migration from Mexico to the US, and examine whether the lack of legal status causally impacts on outcomes, specifically wages and remitting behavior. These outcomes are of particular interest given the extent of legal and illegal migration, and the resulting financial flows. We formalize this question and highlight the principal empirical problem using a potential outcome framework with endogenous selection. The selection bias is captured by a control function, which is estimated nonparametrically. The framework for remitting is extended to allow for endogenous regressors (e.g. wages). We propose a new re-parametrisation of the control function, which is linear in case of a normal error structure, and test linearity. Using Mexican Migration project data, we find considerable and robust illegality effects on wages, the penalty being about 12% in the 1980s and 22 % in the 1990s. For the latter period, the selection bias is not created by a normal error structure; wrongly imposing normality overestimates the illegality effect on wages by 50%, while wrongly ignoring selection leads to a 50% underestimate. In contrast to these wage penalties, legal status appears to have mixed effects on remitting behavior Keywords; illegal migration, illegality effects, counterfactuals, selection, control functions, non-parametric estimation, intermediate outcomes, mexican migration project

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    File URL: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/71067/1/0913.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton in its series Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics with number 0913.

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    Date of creation: 01 Jan 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:0913

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    1. Richard Blundell & James Powell, 2001. "Endogeneity in semiparametric binary response models," CeMMAP working papers CWP05/01, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, 01.
    3. James J. Heckman & Salvador Navarro-Lozano, 2003. "Using Matching, Instrumental Variables and Control Functions to Estimate Economic Choice Models," NBER Working Papers 9497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2000. "Self-selection among undocumented immigrants from Mexico," Working Papers 0005, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    5. Peter Hall & J. D. Opsomer, 2005. "Theory for penalised spline regression," Biometrika, Biometrika Trust, vol. 92(1), pages 105-118, March.
    6. Angelucci, Manuela, 2005. "U.S. Border Enforcement and the Net Flow of Mexican Illegal Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 1642, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Rapoport, Hillel & Docquier, Frédéric, 2005. "The Economics of Migrants’ Remittances," IZA Discussion Papers 1531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
    9. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Sherrie A. Kossoudji & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2002. "Coming out of the Shadows: Learning about Legal Status and Wages from the Legalized Population," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 598-628, July.
    11. Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz, 1999. "Undocumented workers in the labor market: An analysis of the earnings of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 91-116.
    12. Ruppert,David & Wand,M. P. & Carroll,R. J., 2003. "Semiparametric Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521785167, October.
    13. 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.
    14. Ruppert,David & Wand,M. P. & Carroll,R. J., 2003. "Semiparametric Regression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521780506, October.
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