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Coming out of the Shadows: Learning about Legal Status and Wages from the Legalized Population

Author

Listed:
  • Sherrie A. Kossoudji

    (University of Michigan)

  • Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

    (Australian National University)

Abstract

The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) granted amnesty to approximately 1.7 million long-term unauthorized workers in an effort to bring them "out of the shadows" and improve their labor market opportunities. An analysis of wages using panel data for a sample of legalized men provides evidence that wage determinants are structurally different after amnesty for them but not for the comparison group as measured during the same time periods. The wage penalty for being unauthorized is estimated to range from 14% to 24%. The wage benefit of legalization under IRCA was approximately 6%.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:20:y:2002:i:3:p:598-628
    DOI: 10.1086/339611
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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