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Immigration Reform: The Effects of Employer Sanctions and Legalization on Wages

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  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A
  • Shiells, Clinton R
  • Lowell, B Lindsay

Abstract

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) represents an attempt to use labor-market regulation to control illegal migration into the United States by imposing fines on employers who hire unauthorized workers. Sanctions lower wages directly because they act as a tax on hiring additional workers. In addition, IRCA legalized many longtime illegal aliens. Legalization affects wages by changing the relative supply of authorized and unauthorized workers. This study estimates IRCA's impact on wages of manufacturing production workers in metropolitan areas and finds small but statistically significant effects: sanctions lower wages, while legalization raises them. Copyright 1995 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Cobb-Clark, Deborah A & Shiells, Clinton R & Lowell, B Lindsay, 1995. "Immigration Reform: The Effects of Employer Sanctions and Legalization on Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 472-498, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:13:y:1995:i:3:p:472-98
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Immigrants, Minorities, and Labor Market Competition," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(3), pages 382-392, April.
    2. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
    3. Hill, John K & Pearce, James E, 1990. "The Incidence of Sanctions against Employers of Illegal Aliens," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 28-44, February.
    4. Greenwood, Michael J, 1975. "Research on Internal Migration in the United States: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 397-433, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuelle Auriol & Alice Mesnard, 2016. "Sale of Visas: a Smuggler's Final Song?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(332), pages 646-678, October.
    2. Woodland, Alan D. & Yoshida, Chisato, 2006. "Risk preference, immigration policy and illegal immigration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 500-513, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Pia M. Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny, 2012. "The Economic Consequences of Amnesty for Unauthorized Immigrants," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 32(1), pages 85-106, Winter.
    5. Hotchkiss, Julie L. & Quispe-Agnoli, Myriam & Rios-Avila, Fernando, 2012. "The wage impact of undocumented workers," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2012-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    6. 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.
    7. Julie Phillips & Douglas Massey, 1999. "The new labor market: Immigrants and wages after IRCA," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(2), pages 233-246, May.
    8. Stark, Oded & Jakubek, Marcin, 2012. "Employer sanctions, and the welfare of native workers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 533-536.
    9. Devillanova, Carlo & Fasani, Francesco & Frattini, Tommaso, 2014. "Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program," IZA Discussion Papers 8151, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Gil S. Epstein & Odelia Heizler, 2007. "Illegal Migration, Enforcement and Minimum Wage," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0708, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    11. Miao Chi, 2017. "Improved legal status as the major source of earnings premiums associated with intermarriage: evidence from the 1986 IRCA amnesty," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 691-706, June.
    12. Chi, Miao & Drewianka, Scott, 2014. "How much is a green card worth? Evidence from Mexican men who marry women born in the U.S," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 103-116.
    13. Sankar Mukhopadhyay, 2016. "Comparing Wage Gains from Small and Mass Scale Immigrant Legalization Programs," Working Papers 16-001, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics;University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.
    14. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Bansak, Cynthia, 2011. "The Impact of Amnesty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Panel Study Using the Legalized Population Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 5576, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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