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The rhetoric of closed borders: quotas, lax enforcement and illegal migration

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  • Facchini, Giovanni
  • Testa, Cecilia

Abstract

Despite restrictive migration policies, large numbers of undocumented migrants reside in many destination countries. If official migration targets are not enforced, why are they devised? To address this puzzle, we develop a political agency model with uncertainty on the migrants' supply, where an elected official can either have preferences congruent with the median voter, or prefer a larger number of migrants. We show that, if the incumbent prefers more migrants than the median, he might find it optimal to announce a binding quota to be re-elected, and strategically relax its enforcement, or choose an ineffective instrument like border control.

Suggested Citation

  • Facchini, Giovanni & Testa, Cecilia, 2011. "The rhetoric of closed borders: quotas, lax enforcement and illegal migration," CEPR Discussion Papers 8245, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8245
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. "The Rhetoric of Closed Borders"
      by Mark Thoma in Economist's View on 2011-04-28 12:15:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuelle Auriol & Alice Mesnard, 2016. "Sale of Visas: a Smuggler's Final Song?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(332), pages 646-678, October.
    2. Alessandra Casarico & Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Spending more is spending less: on the desirability of enforcing migration," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012006, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    3. Russo, Giuseppe & Salsano, Francesco, 2012. "Electoral systems and immigration," MPRA Paper 38497, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Giovanni Facchini & Cecilia Testa, 2015. "The Political Economy of Migration Enforcement: Domestic Versus Border Control," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(3-4), pages 701-721.
    5. Biavaschi, Costanza & Elsner, Benjamin, 2013. "Let's Be Selective about Migrant Self-Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 7865, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Devillanova, Carlo & Fasani, Francesco & Frattini, Tommaso, 2014. "Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program," IZA Discussion Papers 8151, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Alessandra Casarico & Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Spending More is Spending Less: Policy Dilemmas on Irregular Migration," Development Working Papers 330, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 27 Mar 2012.
    8. Hakan İnal, 2015. "Voting over law enforcement: mission impossible," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 349-360, August.
    9. Casarico, Alessandra & Facchini, Giovanni & Frattini, Tommaso, 2016. "What Drives the Legalization of Immigrants? Evidence from IRCA," IZA Discussion Papers 9666, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. repec:ces:ifodic:v:14:y:2017:i:4:p:19271454 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Alessandra Casarico & Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "What Drives Immigration Amnesties?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3981, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Illegal immigration; Immigration Policy; Political Economy;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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