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Illegal Migration and Consumption Behavior of Immigrant Households

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  • Christian Dustmann
  • Francesco Fasani
  • Biagio Speciale

Abstract

We analyze the effect of immigrants’ legal status on their consumption behavior using unique survey data that samples both documented and undocumented immigrants. To address the problem of sorting into legal status, we propose two alternative identification strategies as exogenous source of variation for current legal status: First, transitory income shocks in the home country, measured as rainfall shocks at the time of emigration. Second, amnesty quotas that grant legal residence status to undocumented immigrants. Both sources of variation create a strong first stage, and—although very different in nature—lead to similar estimates of the effects of illegal status on consumption, with undocumented immigrants consuming about 40% less than documented immigrants, conditional on background characteristics. Roughly one quarter of this decrease is explained by undocumented immigrants having lower incomes than documented immigrants. Our findings imply that legalization programs may have a potentially important effect on immigrants’ consumption behavior, with consequences for both the source and host countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Dustmann & Francesco Fasani & Biagio Speciale, 2017. "Illegal Migration and Consumption Behavior of Immigrant Households," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 654-691.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jeurec:v:15:y:2017:i:3:p:654-691.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jeea/jvw017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tito Boeri & Marta De Philippis & Eleonora Patacchini & Michele Pellizzari, 2015. "Immigration, Housing Discrimination and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(586), pages 82-114, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alessandra Voena & Lucia Corno, 2015. "Selling daughters: age at marriage, income shocks and bride price tradition," 2015 Meeting Papers 1089, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Lanari, Donatella & Pieroni, Luca & Salmasi, Luca, 2020. "Regularization of Immigrants and Fertility in Italy," MPRA Paper 98241, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini, 2014. "The Fiscal Effects of Immigration to the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(580), pages 593-643, November.
    4. Joan Monras & Javier Vázquez-Grenno & Ferran Elias, 2017. "Understanding the Effects of Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1708, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    5. Simone Cremaschi & Carlo Devillanova, 2016. "Immigrants and Legal Status: Do Personal Contacts Matter?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1629, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    6. Effrosyni Adamopoulou & Ezgi Kaya, 2019. "Not Just a Work Permit: EU Citizenship and the Consumption Behavior of Documented and Undocumented Immigrants," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2019_102, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    7. Francesco Fasani, 2015. "Understanding the Role of Immigrants’ Legal Status: Evidence from Policy Experiments," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(3-4), pages 722-763.
    8. Schneiderheinze, Claas & Dick, Eva & Lücke, Matthias & Rahim, Afaf & Schraven, Benjamin & Villa, Matteo, 2018. "Regional integration and migration between low-and-middle-income countries: Regional initiatives need to be strengthened," Economics Discussion Papers 2018-82, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    9. Lochmann, Alexia & Rapoport, Hillel & Speciale, Biagio, 2019. "The effect of language training on immigrants’ economic integration: Empirical evidence from France," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 265-296.
    10. Paolo Pinotti, 2017. "Clicking on Heaven's Door: The Effect of Immigrant Legalization on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(1), pages 138-168, January.
    11. Eric Schuss, 0. "Substantial Labor Market Effects of the Residency Status," Journal of International Migration and Integration, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-34.
    12. Ana María Tribín-Uribe & Achyuta Adhvaryu & Cesar Anzola-Bravo & Oscar Ávila-Montealegre & Leonardo Bonilla-Mejía & Juan Carlos Castro-Fernández & Luz A. Flórez & Ánderson Grajales-Olarte & Alexander , 2020. "Migración desde Venezuela en Colombia: caracterización del fenómeno y análisis de los efectos macroeconómicos," Revista ESPE - Ensayos sobre Política Económica, Banco de la Republica de Colombia, issue 97, pages 1-74, October.
    13. Sergei Guriev & Biagio Speciale & Michele Tuccio, 2019. "How do Regulated and Unregulated Labor Markets Respond to Shocks? Evidence from Immigrants During the Great Recession," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 37-76.
    14. Sankar Mukhopadhyay, 2019. "Legal status and immigrants’ educational investment decisions," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 1-29, March.
    15. Adda, Jérôme & Pinotti, Paolo & Tura, Giulia, 2020. "There's More to Marriage than Love: The Effect of Legal Status and Cultural Distance on Intermarriages and Separations," CEPR Discussion Papers 14432, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Michael Christl & Andrea Papini & Alberto Tumino, 2020. "Heterogeneity in effective VAT rates across native and migrant households in France, Germany and Spain," JRC Working Papers on Taxation & Structural Reforms 2020-09, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    17. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Borra, Cristina & Rivera Garrido, Noelia, 2019. "Fertility Implications of Policy Granting Legal Status Based on Offspring's Nationality," IZA Discussion Papers 12641, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Francesco Fasani, 2018. "Immigrant crime and legal status: evidence from repeated amnesty programs," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 887-914.
    19. Farré, Lídia & Ortega, Francesc & Tanaka, Ryuichi, 2015. "Immigration and School Choices in the Midst of the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 9234, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Tijan L. Bah & Cátia Batista, 2018. "Understanding willingness to migrate illegally: Evidence from a lab in the field experiment," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1803, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia, NOVAFRICA.
    21. Altangerel, Khulan, 2019. "Essays on immigration policy," Other publications TiSEM 954c6300-249e-496c-8cef-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    22. Farre, Lidia & Ortega, Francesc & Tanaka, Ryuichi, 2018. "Immigration and the public–private school choice," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 184-201.
    23. Eric Schuss, 2017. "Substantial Labor Market Effects of the Residency Status: How Important Are Initial Conditions at Arrival for Immigrants?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 952, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    24. Edoardo Di Porto & Enrica Maria Martino & Paolo Naticchioni, 2018. "Back to Black? The Impact of Regularizing Migrant Workers," CSEF Working Papers 517, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    25. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Arenas-Arroyo, Esther & Sevilla, Almudena, 2020. "Labor market impacts of states issuing of driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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