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Illegal migration and consumption behavior of immigrant households

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  • Dustmann, Christian
  • Fasani, Francesco
  • Speciale, Biagio

Abstract

We analyze the effect of immigrants' legal status on their consumption behavior using unique survey data that samples both documented and undocumented immigrants. To address the problem of sorting into legal status, we propose two alternative identification strategies as exogenous source of variation for current legal status: First, transitory income shocks in the home country, measured as rainfall shocks at the time of emigration. Second, amnesty quotas that grant legal residence status to undocumented immigrants. Both sources of variation create a strong first stage, and - although very different in nature- lead to similar estimates of the effects of illegal status on consumption, with undocumented immigrants consuming about 40% less than documented immigrants, conditional on background characteristics. Roughly one quarter of this decrease is explained by undocumented immigrants having lower incomes than documented immigrants. Our findings imply that legalization programs may have a potentially important effect on immigrants' consumption behavior, with consequences for both the source and host countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Dustmann, Christian & Fasani, Francesco & Speciale, Biagio, 2016. "Illegal migration and consumption behavior of immigrant households," CEPR Discussion Papers 11186, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11186
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tito Boeri & Marta De Philippis & Eleonora Patacchini & Michele Pellizzari, 2015. "Immigration, Housing Discrimination and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(586), pages 82-114, August.
    2. Tito Boeri & Marta De Philippis & Eleonora Patacchini & Michele Pelizzari, 2010. "Moving to Segregation: Evidence from 8 Italian cities," EIEF Working Papers Series 1109, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2011.
    3. David J. McKenzie & Johan Mistiaen, 2009. "Surveying migrant households: a comparison of census‐based, snowball and intercept point surveys," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 172(2), pages 339-360, April.
    4. Antonio Accetturo & Luigi Infante, 2010. "Immigrant Earnings in the Italian Labour Market," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 69(1), pages 1-28, April.
    5. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2011. "Migration Restrictions and Criminal Behavior: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Papers 2011.53, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    consumption behavior; legal status; weather shocks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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