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Legal Status and the Criminal Activity of Immigrants

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  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni
  • Paolo Pinotti

Abstract

We exploit exogenous variation in legal status following the January 2007 European Union enlargement to estimate its effect on immigrant crime. We difference out unobserved time-varying factors by (i) comparing recidivism rates of immigrants from the "new" and "candidate" member countries; and (ii) using arrest data on foreign detainees released upon a mass clemency that occurred in Italy in August 2006. The timing of the two events allows us to setup a difference-in-differences strategy. Legal status leads to a 50 percent reduction in recidivism, and explains one-half to two-thirds of the observed differences in crime rates between legal and illegal immigrants. (JEL F22, K42, C41)

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2015. "Legal Status and the Criminal Activity of Immigrants," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 175-206, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:7:y:2015:i:2:p:175-206 Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20140039
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    Cited by:

    1. Luca Nunziata, 2015. "Immigration and crime: evidence from victimization data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 697-736.
    2. Davide Azzolini & Raffaele Guetto, 2017. "The impact of citizenship on intermarriage: Quasi-experimental evidence from two European Union Eastern enlargements," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(43), pages 1299-1336, April.
    3. Monica Langella & Alan Manning, 2016. "Diversity and Neighbourhood Satisfaction," CEP Discussion Papers dp1459, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Carlo Devillanova & Francesco Fasani & Tommaso Frattini, 2014. "Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1415, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    5. Joan Monras & Javier Vázquez-Grenno & Ferran Elias, 2017. "Understanding the Effects of Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1708, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    6. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Francesco Sobbrio, 2017. "The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6532, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Simone Cremaschi & Carlo Devillanova, 2016. "Immigrants and Legal Status: Do Personal Contacts Matter?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1629, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    8. Guriev, Sergei & Speciale, Biagio & Tuccio, Michele, 2016. "How do regulated and unregulated labor markets respond to shocks? Evidence from immigrants during the Great Recession," CEPR Discussion Papers 11403, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Zhang, Yinjuejie & Palma, Marco & Xu, Zhicheng, 2016. "Effects of the Alabama HB 56 Immigration Law on Crime: A Synthetic Control Approach," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 229780, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    10. Comino, Stefano & Mastrobuoni, Giovanni & Nicolò, Antonio, 2016. "Silence of the Innocents: Illegal Immigrants' Underreporting of Crime and their Victimization," IZA Discussion Papers 10306, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Comino, Stefano & Mastrobuoni, Giovanni & Nicolò, Antonio, 2016. "Silence of the Innocents: Illegal Immigrants' Underreporting of Crime and their Victimization," IZA Discussion Papers 10306, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Yongzheng Liu & Jie Mao, 2017. "How do Tax Incentives Affect Investment and Productivity? Firm-Level Evidence from China," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1716, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    13. Pin, Paolo & Rogers, Brian W., 2015. "Cooperation, punishment and immigration," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 72-101.
    14. Junxue Jia & Cong Qin & Yongzheng Liu, 2017. "Do Community-Based Development Projects Alleviate Poverty? Evidence from Rural China," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1722, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    15. Zhang, Yinjunjie & Palma, Marco A. & Xu, Zhicheng Phil, 2016. "Unintended effects of the Alabama HB 56 immigration law on crime: A preliminary analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 68-71.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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