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Does illegal immigration empower rightist parties?


  • ?gel Solano Garc?



The main goal of this paper is to analyze the political outcome in countries where the relevant issue in elections is the control of immigration. In particular we explore the consequences on the political outcome of the fact that parties are either ideological or opportunistic with respect to this issue. In order to do that we use a simple two-party political competition model in which the issues over which parties take positions are the level of border enforcement and the way it has to be financed. We show that an ideological rather than a pure opportunistic behavior gives parties an advantage to win the election. In particular, in most of the cases we consider we find that rightist parties have an advantage to win in countries where the relevant issue in election is illegal immigration. This result may help us to understand the recent success of anti-immigrant and rightist parties in several countries.

Suggested Citation

  • ?gel Solano Garc?, 2004. "Does illegal immigration empower rightist parties?," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 614.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:614.04

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond Robertson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2002. "Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers From Illegal Immigration?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 73-92, February.
    2. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 2001. "Political economy, sectoral shocks, and border enforcement," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(3), pages 612-638, August.
    3. Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 510-530, August.
    4. Borjas, George J & Freeman, Richard B & Katz, Lawrence, 1996. "Searching for the Effect of Immigration on the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 246-251, May.
    5. Pia M. Orrenius, 2001. "Illegal immigration and enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border; an overview," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q I, pages 2-11.
    6. Mirko Draca & Stephen Machin, 2015. "Crime and Economic Incentives," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 389-408, August.
    7. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
    8. Coronado, Roberto & Orrenius, Pia M., 2003. "The impact of illegal immigration and enforcement on border crime rates," Working Papers 0303, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    9. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Swagel, Phillip, 1998. "Tax Burden and Migration," Economics Series 59, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    10. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item


    illegal immigration; skilled; unskilled; ideology;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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