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Do Interest Groups affect US Immigration Policy?

  • Giovanni Facchini

    ()

    (University of Essex, Universita degli Studi di Milano, CEPR, LdA and CES-Ifo)

  • Anna Maria Mayda

    ()

    (Georgetown University, CEPR, IZA, CReAM and LdA)

  • Prachi Mishra

    ()

    (Research Department, International Monetary Fund)

While anecdotal evidence suggests that interest groups play a key role in shaping immigration policy, there is no systematic empirical analysis of this issue. In this paper, we construct an industry-level dataset for the United States, by combining information on the number of temporary work visas with data on lobbying activity associated with immigration. We find robust evidence that both pro- and anti-immigration interest groups play a statistically significant and economically relevant role in shaping migration across sectors. Barriers to migration are lower in sectors in which business interest groups incur larger lobby expenditures and higher in sectors where labor unions are more important.

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Paper provided by Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London in its series CReAM Discussion Paper Series with number 0904.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:0904
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