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Earnings and Mobility of Legal and Illegal Immigrant Workers in Agriculture

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  • J. Edward Taylor

Abstract

This paper presents theoretical and empirical evidence that unauthorized immigrants are more likely to be selected into low-wage, low-skill farm jobs than are otherwise similar legal workers. Controlling for this selection process, the earnings of unauthorized workers are significantly lower than the earnings of legal workers in high-skill farm jobs. These findings are shown to be consistent with expected profit maximization by farm employers. Legalization of farmworkers under the Special Agricultural Worker (SAW) program is not likely to increase farmworker earnings and may result in wage decreases in some farm jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:74:y:1992:i:4:p:889-896.
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    1. Stewart, James B & Hyclak, Thomas, 1984. "An Analysis of the Earnings Profiles of Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(2), pages 292-296, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arcand, Jean-Louis & Mbaye, Linguère Mously, 2013. "Braving the Waves: The Role of Time and Risk Preferences in Illegal Migration from Senegal," IZA Discussion Papers 7517, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Iwai, Nobuyuki & Emerson, Robert D. & Roka, Fritz M., 2009. "Labor Cost and Value of Citrus Operations with Alternative Technology: Enterprise DCF Approach," 2009 Annual Meeting, January 31-February 3, 2009, Atlanta, Georgia 46836, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    3. Silvia Helena Barcellos, 2010. "Legalization and the Economic Status of Immigrants," Working Papers 754, RAND Corporation.
    4. Katarzyna Budnik, 2011. "Emigration Triggers: International Migration of Polish Workers between 1994 and 2009," NBP Working Papers 90, Narodowy Bank Polski, Economic Research Department.
    5. Javier Ferri & Antonio G. Gómez-Plana & Joan Martín-Montaner, "undated". "International inmigration and mobility across sectors: an exploration of alternative scenarios for Spain," Studies on the Spanish Economy 124, FEDEA.
    6. Mukhopadhyay, Sankar, 2018. "Comparing Wage Gains from Different Immigrant Legalization Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 11525, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Iwai, Nobuyuki & Emerson, Robert D. & Walters, Lurleen M., 2008. "Labor Cost and Technology Adoption: Least Squares Monte Carlo Method for the Case of Sugarcane Mechanization in Florida," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6479, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    8. Jean-Louis Arcand & Linguère M'Baye, 2011. "Braving the waves: The economics of clandestine migration from Africa," Working Papers halshs-00575606, HAL.
    9. Iwai, Nobuyuki & Emerson, Robert D. & Roka, Fritz M., 2009. "Harvest Cost and Value of Citrus Operations with Alternative Technology: Real Options Approach," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49942, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Maoyong Fan & Susan Gabbard & Anita Alves Pena & Jeffrey M. Perloff, 2015. "Why Do Fewer Agricultural Workers Migrate Now?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 97(3), pages 665-679.
    11. Hillman, Arye L. & Weiss, Avi, 1999. "A theory of permissible illegal immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 585-604, November.
    12. 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.
    13. Andrés Villarreal & Sarah Blanchard, 2013. "How Job Characteristics Affect International Migration: The Role of Informality in Mexico," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(2), pages 751-775, April.
    14. Kandel, William, 2008. "Profile of Hired Farmworkers, A 2008 Update," Economic Research Report 56461, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    15. Jennifer Scott & Joanna Mhairi Hale & Yolanda C. Padilla, 2021. "Immigration Status and Farmwork: Understanding the Wage and Income Gap Across U.S. Policy and Economic Eras, 1989–2016," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 40(5), pages 861-893, October.
    16. Pagan, Jose A., 1998. "Employer sanctions on hiring illegal labor: An experimental analysis of firm compliance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 87-100, January.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Iwai, Nobuyuki & Emerson, Robert D. & Walters, Lurleen M., 2008. "Labor Cost and Technology Adoption: Real Options Approach for the Case of Sugarcane Mechanization in Florida," 2008 Annual Meeting, February 2-6, 2008, Dallas, Texas 6758, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    20. Hogan, Chellie A. & Walters, Lurleen M. & Williams, Brian R., 2018. "Evaluating the Effects of Legalization on Farmworker Wages in the Crop Sector," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274167, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    21. Silvia Helena Barcellos, 2010. "Legalization and the Economic Status of Immigrants," Working Papers WR-754, RAND Corporation.

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