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Effects of enforcement on illegal markets: Evidence from migrant smuggling along the southwestern border

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  • Gathmann, Christina

Abstract

The paper analyzes the effects of tighter border control on the illegal crossing market between Mexico and the United States. Combining panel data on illegal migrants with enforcement statistics, the effects of enforcement are found to be moderate: prices of border smugglers ('coyotes') increased by only 17%, while the demand for smugglers has remained unchanged. Enforcement has however shifted illegal migrants to remote crossing places. Border crossing is now more time-intensive with higher prices for coyotes and risk of death. This geographic substitution raised migration costs by $140, more than twice the effect of enforcement on smuggling prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Gathmann, Christina, 2008. "Effects of enforcement on illegal markets: Evidence from migrant smuggling along the southwestern border," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1926-1941, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:10-11:p:1926-1941
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Enforcement Illegal migration Smuggling Crime Mexico;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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