IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Dealing with Undocumented Immigrants: The Welfare Effects of Amnesties and Deportations


  • Joël MACHADO

    (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER))


The effects on agents’ welfare of two different policies dealing with undocumented immigrants, amnesties and deportations, are assessed. I develop a two-period overlapping generations model which accounts for the ex-ante production by undocumented workers and their impact on the government budget. Additional channels, such as the discrimination on the labor market and a different productivity of regularized workers are discussed. The impact of a migration policy depends on the wage effects of the legalized/deported workers and their net fiscal contribution. The calibration of the model for the United States in 2014 allows to disentangle the channels at work. Overall, the impact of the two policies on natives’ welfare is limited (between −0.1% and +0.15%). Retired agents benefit from an amnesty and are harmed by a deportation. The effect on workers is ambiguous and depends on the wage and fiscal effects in addition to the change in the returns on savings.

Suggested Citation

  • Joël MACHADO, 2017. "Dealing with Undocumented Immigrants: The Welfare Effects of Amnesties and Deportations," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 445-492, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvde:v:83:y:2017:i:4:p:445-492
    DOI: 10.1017/dem.2017.14

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Cynthia Bansak, 2011. "The Impact of Amnesty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Panel Study Using the Legalized Population Survey," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 443-471, July.
    2. Silvia Helena Barcellos, 2010. "Legalization and the Economic Status of Immigrants," Working Papers 754, RAND Corporation.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Stark, Oded & Byra, Lukasz, 2019. "Can a deportation policy backfire?," Discussion Papers 293929, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    2. Ortega, Francesc & Edwards, Ryan & Hsin, Amy, 2018. "The Economic Effects of Providing Legal Status to DREAMers," IZA Discussion Papers 11281, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item


    Undocumented immigration; Amnesty; Regularization; Deportation; Discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • F29 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Other
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ctl:louvde:v:83:y:2017:i:4:p:445-492. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sebastien SCHILLINGS). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.