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Does Employing Undocumented Workers Give Firms A Competitive Advantage?


  • J. David Brown
  • Julie L. Hotchkiss
  • Myriam Quispe-Agnoli


Using administrative data from the state of Georgia, this paper finds that on average, among all firms, employing undocumented workers reduces a firm's hazard of exit by 19 percent. However, the impact varies greatly across sectors. In addition, a firm is at a distinct disadvantage if it does not employ undocumented workers but its rivals do. The advantage to employing undocumented workers increases as more firms in the industry do so. In addition, the advantage to a firm from employing undocumented workers decreases with the skill level of the firm's workers, increases with the breadth of a firm's market, and increases with the labor intensity of the firm's production process.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • J. David Brown & Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, 2013. "Does Employing Undocumented Workers Give Firms A Competitive Advantage?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 158-170, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:53:y:2013:i:1:p:158-170
    DOI: jors.12009

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ted Mouw, 2016. "The Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Native Workers: Evidence using Longitudinal Data from the LEHD," Working Papers 16-56, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Hotchkiss, Julie L. & Quispe-Agnoli, Myriam & Rios-Avila, Fernando, 2012. "The wage impact of undocumented workers," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2012-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    3. repec:eee:regeco:v:67:y:2017:i:c:p:119-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ortega, Francesc & Edwards, Ryan & Hsin, Amy, 2018. "The Economic Effects of Providing Legal Status to DREAMers," IZA Discussion Papers 11281, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. John M. Abowd & Kevin L. McKinney & Nellie L. Zhao, 2018. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility Trends in the United States: Nationally Representative Estimates from Longitudinally Linked Employer-Employee Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 183-300.
    6. J. David Brown & Serife Genc & Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, 2014. "Undocumented Workers' Employment Across U.S. Business Cycles," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(3), pages 653-670, July.
    7. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2013. "New Frontiers Of Immigration Research: Cities And Firms," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-7, February.

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