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US Border Enforcement and the Net Flow of Mexican Illegal Migration

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  • Manuela Angelucci

Abstract

I investigate the effect of US border enforcement on the net flow of Mexican undocumented migration, both of which have been considerably increasing in the last 3 decades. This effect is theoretically ambiguous, as increases in border controls deter prospective migrants from crossing the border illegally but lengthen the duration of current illegal migrations. The inflow and outflow of illegal Mexican migration respond to changes in border enforcement. The marginal effect of enforcement on the inflow increases with enforcement and is consistent with the hypothesis that tighter enforcement selects more productive migrants. This positive selection makes the outflow sensitivity to marginal enforcement changes comparatively more stable over time. A marginal increase in border controls increases the stock of undocumented migrants between 1972 and 1986, has either no effect or a small and negative effect between 1987 and 1996, and has a larger and significant negative effect between 1997 and 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuela Angelucci, 2012. "US Border Enforcement and the Net Flow of Mexican Illegal Migration," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(2), pages 311-357.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/662575
    DOI: 10.1086/662575
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    More about this item

    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
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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