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The Economic Effects of Providing Legal Status to DREAMers

Author

Listed:
  • Ortega Francesc

    (Dina Axelrad Perry Professor of Economics, Queens College. CUNY, 65-30 Kissena Blvd, Flushing, NY11367, USA)

  • Edwards Ryan

    (Research Associate, Berkeley Population Center, UC, Berkeley, CA, USA)

  • Hsin Amy

    (Associate Professor of Sociology, Queens College, CUNY, NY, USA)

Abstract

This study quantifies the economic effects of two major immigration policies aimed at legalizing undocumented individuals that entered the United States as children and completed high school: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the DREAM Act. The former offers only temporary legal status to eligible individuals, whereas the latter provides a track to legal permanent residence. Our analysis is based on a general equilibrium model that allows for shifts in participation between work, college, and non-employment. The model is calibrated to account for productivity differences across workers of different skills and documentation status, and a rich pattern of complementarities across different types of workers. We estimate that DACA increased gross domestic product (GDP) by almost 0.02% (about $3.5 billion), or $7,454 per legalized worker. Passing the DREAM Act would increase GDP by around 0.08% (or $15.2 billion), which amounts to an average of $15,371 for each legalized worker. The larger effects of the DREAM Act stem from the expected larger take-up and the increased incentive to attend college among DREAMers with a high school degree. We also find substantial wage increases for individuals obtaining legal status, particularly those that increase their educational attainment. Because of the small size of the DREAMer population, and their skill distribution, legalization entails negligible effects on the wages of US-born workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Ortega Francesc & Edwards Ryan & Hsin Amy, 2018. "The Economic Effects of Providing Legal Status to DREAMers," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 9(1), pages 1-18, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:izajlp:v:9:y:2018:i:1:p:18:n:5
    DOI: 10.2478/izajolp-2019-0005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Joël MACHADO, 2017. "Dealing with Undocumented Immigrants: The Welfare Effects of Amnesties and Deportations," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 445-492, December.
    4. J. David Brown & Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, 2013. "Does Employing Undocumented Workers Give Firms A Competitive Advantage?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 158-170, February.
    5. Lozano, Fernando A. & Sorensen, Todd A., 2011. "The Labor Market Value to Legal Status," IZA Discussion Papers 5492, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Pope, Nolan G., 2016. "The Effects of DACAmentation: The Impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on Unauthorized Immigrants," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 98-114.
    7. Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, 2009. "Employer monopsony power in the labor market for undocumented workers," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2009-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuntella, Osea & Lonsky, Jakub & Mazzonna, Fabrizio & Stella, Luca, 2021. "Immigration policy and immigrants’ sleep. Evidence from DACA," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 182(C), pages 1-12.
    2. Giuntella, Osea & Lonsky, Jakub, 2020. "The effects of DACA on health insurance, access to care, and health outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    3. Amy Hsin & Francesc Ortega, 2018. "The Effects of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on the Educational Outcomes of Undocumented Students," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(4), pages 1487-1506, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    DREAMers; immigration; legalization; undocumented;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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