Coming Out of the Shadows: Learning About Legal Status and Wages from the Legalized Population
In 1986, Congress attempted to reduce the incentives for unauthorized migration by eliminating U.S. employment opportunities for unauthorized workers. To recognize the commitment that many unauthorized workers had already made to the U.S. labor market, amnesty was granted to approximately 1.7 million long-term unauthorized workers under the General Legalization Program. It was believed that legalization would bring the workers "out of the shadows" and improve their labor market oppoortunities. Estimation of wages using panel data for a sample of legalized men and a comparison sample of legal workers provides evidence that this policy shift has successfully achieved this aim.
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