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Strategic Amnesty and Credible Immigration Reform

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  • Chau, Nancy H

Abstract

Why do countries that impose employer sanctions to deter the illegal entry of foreign workers nevertheless grant amnesty to illegal immigrants? In this article, I provide a positive theory of amnesty provision in a model where the constrained optimal immigration reform, involving the joint use of employer sanctions and border interdictions, is time-inconsistent. In particular, my framework demonstrates that host countries of immigration can enhance the credibility of their immigration reforms by "binding their own hands" and strategically granting a socially excessive amount of amnesty to illegal workers. Copyright 2001 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Chau, Nancy H, 2001. "Strategic Amnesty and Credible Immigration Reform," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 604-634, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:19:y:2001:i:3:p:604-34
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bhagwati, Jagdish & Hamada, Koichi, 1974. "The brain drain, international integration of markets for professionals and unemployment : A theoretical analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-42, April.
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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. Giovanni Facchini & Cecilia Testa, 2010. "The rhetoric of closed borders: quotas, lax enforcement and illegal migration," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2010001, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    3. Djajić, Slobodan & Vinogradova, Alexandra, 2013. "Undocumented migrants in debt," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 15-24.
    4. Joël MACHADO, 2012. "On the welfare impacts of an immigration amnesty," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2012010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Mayr, Karin & Minter, Steffen & Krieger, Tim, 2012. "Policies on illegal immigration in a federation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 153-165.
    6. 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).
    7. Gil Epstein & Avi Weiss, 2011. "The why, when, and how of immigration amnesties," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 285-316.
    8. Alessandra Casarico & Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Spending more is spending less: on the desirability of enforcing migration," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012006, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    9. Guido Friebel & Sergei Guriev, 2006. "Smuggling Humans: A Theory of Debt-financed Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(6), pages 1085-1111, December.
    10. Magris, Francesco & Russo, Giuseppe, 2016. "Fiscal Revenues and Commitment in Immigration Amnesties," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 75-90.
    11. P. Giannoccolo, 2004. "The Brain Drain. A Survey of the Literature," Working Papers 526, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    12. Alexander Kemnitz & Karin Mayr, 2012. "Return Migration and Illegal Immigration Control," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012040, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    13. Alessandra Casarico & Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Spending More is Spending Less: Policy Dilemmas on Irregular Migration," Development Working Papers 330, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 27 Mar 2012.
    14. Scott Baker, 2013. "Effects of Immigrant Legalization on Crime: The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act," Discussion Papers 12-012, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    15. Ira N. Gang & Myeong-Su Yun, 2006. "Immigration Amnesty and Immigrant's Earnings," Departmental Working Papers 200632, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    16. Casarico, Alessandra & Facchini, Giovanni & Frattini, Tommaso, 2016. "What Drives the Legalization of Immigrants? Evidence from IRCA," IZA Discussion Papers 9666, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Giovanni Facchini & Cecilia Testa, 2015. "The Political Economy of Migration Enforcement: Domestic Versus Border Control," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(3-4), pages 701-721.
    18. de la Rica, Sara & Glitz, Albrecht & Ortega, Francesc, 2013. "Immigration in Europe: Trends, Policies and Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 7778, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Guido Friebel & Sergei Guriev, 2013. "Human smuggling," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 6, pages 121-134 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    20. 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.
    21. Tim Krieger & Steffen Minter, 2007. "Immigration amnesties in the southern EU member states - a challenge for the entire EU?," Working Papers CIE 6, Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics.
    22. Karlson, Stephen H. & Katz, Eliakim, 2003. "A positive theory of immigration amnesties," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 231-239, February.
    23. Alessandra Casarico & Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "What Drives Immigration Amnesties?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3981, CESifo Group Munich.
    24. Amin, Mohammad & Mattoo, Aaditya, 2006. "Can guest worker schemes reduce illegal migration ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3828, The World Bank.

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