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What drives U.S. immigration policy? Evidence from congressional roll call votes

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  • Facchini, Giovanni
  • Steinhardt, Max Friedrich

Abstract

Immigration is today one of the most hotly debated policy issues in the United States. Despite marked divergence of opinion even within political parties, several important reforms have been introduced in the post 1965 era. The purpose of this paper is to carry out a systematic analysis of the drivers of the voting behavior of US representatives on immigration policy in the period 1970-2006, and in particular to assess the role of economic factors at the district level. Our findings suggest that representatives from more skilled labor abundant districts are more likely to support an open immigration policy towards the unskilled, whereas the opposite is true for representatives from more unskilled labor abundant districts. This evidence is robust to the introduction of an array of additional economic and non-economic characteristics of the districts, and suggests that a simple factor analysis model can go a long way in explaining voting on immigration policy.

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  • Facchini, Giovanni & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2011. "What drives U.S. immigration policy? Evidence from congressional roll call votes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 734-743, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:7-8:p:734-743
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    Cited by:

    1. Ekrame Boubtane & Dramane Coulibaly & Christophe Rault, 2013. "Immigration, Growth, and Unemployment: Panel VAR Evidence from OECD Countries," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 27(4), pages 399-420, December.
    2. Drometer, Marcus & Méango, Romuald, 2015. "Electoral cycles, partisan effects and U.S. immigration policies," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113052, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Hatton, Timothy J., 2017. "Public Opinion on Immigration in Europe: Preference versus Salience," CEPR Discussion Papers 12084, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Conconi, Paola & Facchini, Giovanni & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2012. "The political economy of trade and migration: Evidence from the US Congress," HWWI Research Papers 136, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    5. Laurent Bouton & Paola Conconi & Francisco Pino & Maurizio Zanardi, 2013. "Guns and Votes," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2013-39, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
      • Laurent Bouton & Paola Conconi & Francisco Pino & Maurizio Zanardi, 2014. "Guns and Votes," NBER Working Papers 20253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Laurent Bouton & Paola Conconi & Francisco Pino & Maurizio Zanardi, 2013. "Guns and votes," Working Papers 43819146, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
      • Bouton, Laurent & Conconi, Paola & Pino, Francisco & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2013. "Guns and Votes," CEPR Discussion Papers 9726, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Bougheas, Spiros & Nelson, Doug, 2013. "On the political economy of high skilled migration and international trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 206-224.
    7. Conconi, Paola & Facchini, Giovanni & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2014. "Policymakers' horizon and trade reforms: The protectionist effect of elections," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 102-118.
    8. Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini & Cora Signorotto, 2013. "Mind What Your Voters Read: Media Exposure and International Economic Policy Making," Development Working Papers 358, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    9. Mayda, Anna Maria & Peri, Giovanni & Steingress, Walter, 2015. "Immigration to the U.S.: A problem for the Republicans or the Democrats?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11001, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Rayp, Glenn & Ruyssen, Ilse & Standaert, Samuel, 2017. "Measuring and Explaining Cross-Country Immigration Policies," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 141-163.
    11. Martin Halla & Alexander F. Wagner & Josef Zweimüller, 2012. "Does Immigration into Their Neighborhoods Incline Voters Toward the Extreme Right? The Case of the Freedom Party of Austria," Economics working papers 2012-05, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    12. Michael Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2014. "Politics, unemployment, and the enforcement of immigration law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 131-153, July.
    13. Casarico, Alessandra & Facchini, Giovanni & Frattini, Tommaso, 2018. "What drives the legalization of immigrants? Evidence from IRCA," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 258-273.
    14. Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "The effect of income and immigration policies on international migration," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 11, pages 333-360 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    15. Bellani, Luna & Fabella, Vigile Marie, 2018. "Upward Income Mobility and Legislator Support for Education Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 11324, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Martin Halla & Alexander F. Wagner & Josef Zweimüller, 2012. "Immigration and voting for the extreme right," ECON - Working Papers 083, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2013.
    17. Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri, 2012. "The Role of Income and Immigration Policies in Attracting International Migrants," Working Papers 1214, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
    18. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2011. "Policymakers’ Horizon and Trade Reforms," Development Working Papers 311, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    19. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Max F. Steinhardt & Maurizio Zanardi, 2012. "The Political Economy of Trade and Migration: Evidence from the US Congress: CEPR Discussion Paper 9270," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2012-49, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    20. Jackline Wahba & Ishac Diwan & Michele Tuccio, 2017. "Diaspora Networks as a Bridge between Civilizations," Working Papers 1094, Economic Research Forum, revised 05 Nov 2017.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Immigration policy Voting Political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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