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Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program 


  • Carlo Devillanova
  • Francesco Fasani
  • Tommaso Frattini


This article estimates the causal effect of the prospect of legal status on the employment outcomes of undocumented immigrants. The identification strategy exploits a natural experiment provided by an Italian amnesty program that introduced an exogenous discontinuity in eligibility based on date of arrival. The authors find that immigrants who are potentially eligible for legal status under the amnesty program have a significantly higher probability of being employed relative to undocumented immigrants who are not eligible. The size of the estimated effect is equivalent to about half the increase in employment that undocumented immigrants in our sample normally experience during their first year in Italy. These findings are robust to several checks and falsification exercises.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo Devillanova & Francesco Fasani & Tommaso Frattini, 2018. "Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program ," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 71(4), pages 853-881, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:71:y:2018:i:4:p:853-881

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Michele Battisti & Yvonne Giesing & Nadzeya Laurentsyeva, 2018. "Can Job Search Assistance Improve the Labour Market Integration for Refugees? Evidence from a Field Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 7292, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Alexia Lochmann & Hillel Rapoport & Biagio Speciale, 2017. "The Effect of Language Training on Immigrants' Economic Integration - Empirical Evidence from France," CESifo Working Paper Series 6460, CESifo Group Munich.


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