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Legalization and Immigrants in U.S. Agriculture

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  • Pena Anita Alves

    () (Colorado State University - Fort Collins)

Abstract

This article considers how legal status affects agricultural labor market outcomes and food prices. Using both propensity score matching and treatment effects regression analysis, undocumented immigrants are found to make 5 to 6% less on average and to have significantly lower probabilities of aid program participation than their documented immigrant counterparts. Magnitudes of differences depend on the permanence of legal status, with naturalized citizens and green card holders benefiting more from their legal status than those with other forms of work authorization. Results suggest that a new program granting amnesty to undocumented immigrant farmworkers, reminiscent of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker program under the Immigration Reform and Control Act, would have minimal effects on farmworker outcomes especially in the short term, and that if employers pass labor cost increases to consumers via food prices, effects on consumers would be similarly minimal.

Suggested Citation

  • Pena Anita Alves, 2010. "Legalization and Immigrants in U.S. Agriculture," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-24, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. D. Kate Rubin & Jeffrey M. Perloff, 1993. "Who Works for Piece Rates and Why," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 75(4), pages 1036-1043.
    2. Enrico Moretti & Jeffrey M. Perloff, 2002. "Efficiency Wages, Deferred Payments, and Direct Incentives in Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1144-1155.
    3. 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.
    4. J. Edward Taylor, 1992. "Earnings and Mobility of Legal and Illegal Immigrant Workers in Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 74(4), pages 889-896.
    5. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(3), pages 437-450, August.
    6. Sabrina Isé & Jeffrey M. Perloff, 1995. "Legal Status and Earnings of Agricultural Workers," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 77(2), pages 375-386.
    7. Lien H. Tran & Jeffrey M. Perloff, 2002. "Turnover in U.S. Agricultural Labor Markets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(2), pages 427-437.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maoyong Fan & Anita Alves Pena & Jeffrey M. Perloff, 2016. "Effects of the Great Recession on the U.S. Agricultural Labor Market," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1146-1157.

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