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Work Effort, Moderation in Expulsion, and Illegal Migration


  • Stark, Oded


Illegal migrants supply a valuable productive input: effort. But their status as illegals means that these migrants face a strictly positive probability of expulsion. A return to their country of origin entails reduced earnings when the wage at origin is lower than the wage at destination. This prospect induces illegal migrants to exert more work effort than comparable workers who face no such prospect. The lower the probable, alternative earnings, the harsher the penalty that illegal migrants will be subjected to upon their return, for a given probability of expulsion, and the higher the level of effort they will exert at destination. While the homecountry wage that awaits the illegal migrants upon their return is exogenous to the host country, the probability of their return is not. Given the home-country wage, a higher probability of expulsion will induce illegal migrants to supply more effort. Hence, different combinations of probabilities of expulsion and home-country wages yield the same level of effort. Thus, variation in the extent to which receiving countries undertake measures aimed at apprehending and expelling illegal migrants can be attributed not to characteristics of the illegal migrants themselves but to a feature that pertains to the illegal migrants' country of origin.

Suggested Citation

  • Stark, Oded, 2006. "Work Effort, Moderation in Expulsion, and Illegal Migration," Discussion Papers 7127, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ubzefd:7127

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dutta, Jayasri & Michel, Philippe, 1998. "The Distribution of Wealth with Imperfect Altruism," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 379-404, October.
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    3. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    4. Dasgupta, Partha, 1974. "On some alternative criteria for justice between generations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 405-423, November.
    5. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    6. Robert A. Becker, 1980. "On the Long-Run Steady State in a Simple Dynamic Model of Equilibrium with Heterogeneous Households," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 375-382.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. J. David Brown & Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, 2008. "Undocumented worker employment and firm survivability," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2008-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    3. Brown, J. David & Hotchkiss, Julie L. & Quispe-Agnoli, Myriam, 2009. "Undocumented Worker Employment and Firm Survival," IZA Discussion Papers 3936, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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    Labor and Human Capital;


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