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Political economy, sectoral shocks, and border enforcement

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  • Gordon H. Hanson
  • Antonio Spilimbergo

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the correlation between sectoral shocks and border enforcement in the United States, the U.S. government's main policy instrument for combating illegal immigration. We see whether border enforcement falls following positive shocks to sectors that are intensive in the use of undocumented labour, as would be consistent with political economy models of illegal immigration. We find that border enforcement is negatively correlated with lagged relative price changes in the apparel, fruits and vegetables, and livestock industries and with housing starts in western United States, suggesting that authorities relax border enforcement when demand for undocumented labour is high.

Suggested Citation

  • Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Political economy, sectoral shocks, and border enforcement," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(3), pages 612-638, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:34:y:2001:i:3:p:612-638
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    JEL classification:

    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business

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