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Can guest worker schemes reduce illegal migration ?

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  • Amin, Mohammad
  • Mattoo, Aaditya

Abstract

The authors analyze recent efforts at international cooperation to limit illegal migration, particularly through the use of legal migration avenues like guest worker schemes. They show that while guest worker schemes may be desirable as an avenue of international migration, they are an inefficient instrument to induce cooperation on illegal migration. On the one hand, guest worker schemes suffer from a negative selection problem relative to illegal migration, which tends to erode their attractiveness to source countries. On the other hand, guest worker schemes increase total (legal and illegal) migration which make them a costly compensating device for the host country. Moreover, guest worker schemes create additional pressure on host countries to implement tough laws against illegal immigration even when the host finds such laws undesirable. Thus, less favorable treatment of illegal immigrants, as in California Proposition 187, may be an inevitable rather than incidental outcome of reliance on guest worker schemes. In contrast, countries that are willing to use transfers and other forms of economic assistance to induce source countries to cooperate can afford relatively liberal treatment of illegal immigrants.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3828.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3828

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Related research

Keywords: Gender and Social Development; Voluntary and Involuntary Resettlement; Anthropology; Human Migrations&Resettlements; Gender and Development;

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  1. Gaytan-Fregoso, Helena & Lahiri, Sajal, 2000. "Foreign aid and illegal immigration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 515-527, December.
  2. Gordon M Myers & Yorgos Y Papageorgiou, 1997. "Immigration Control and the Welfare State," Department of Economics Working Papers 1997-01, McMaster University.
  3. Jones, Stephen R. G., 1989. "Have your lawyer call my lawyer : Bilateral delegation in bargaining situations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 159-174, March.
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  5. Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 147, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  6. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1986. "Illegal Immigration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 258-62, May.
  7. Chiswick, Barry R, 1988. "Illegal Immigration and Immigration Control," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 101-15, Summer.
  8. 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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  10. Pia M. Orrenius, 2001. "Illegal immigration and enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border; an overview," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q I, pages 2-11.
  11. Bandyopadhyay, Subhayu & Bandyopadhyay, Sudeshna Champati, 1998. "Illegal immigration: a supply side analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 343-360.
  12. Aaron S. Edlin & Benjamin E. Hermalin, 1997. "Contract Renegotiation in Agency Problems," NBER Working Papers 6086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. Drazen, Allan & Limão, Nuno, 2003. "Government Gains from Self-Restraint: A Bargaining Theory of Inefficient Redistribution Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 4007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  16. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Omar Mahmoud, Toman & Trebesch, Christoph, 2009. "The Economic Drivers of Human Trafficking: Micro-Evidence from Five Eastern European Countries," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Frankfurt a.M. 2009 38, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  2. Hoekman, Bernard & Ozden, Caglar, 2009. "The Euro-mediterranean partnership : trade in services as an alternative to migration ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5049, The World Bank.
  3. Omar Mahmoud, Toman, 2010. "Shocks, income diversification and welfare in developing and transition countries," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 59754, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  4. Oliver Lorz & Karen Schaefer, 2011. "Temporary immigration visas," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 291-303, June.
  5. Omar Mahmoud, Toman & Trebesch, Christoph, 2010. "The economics of human trafficking and labour migration: Micro-evidence from Eastern Europe," Munich Reprints in Economics 19321, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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