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The Impact of Amnesty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Panel Study Using the Legalized Population Survey

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  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes

    () (San Diego State University)

  • Cynthia Bansak

    (St. Lawrence University)

Abstract

This paper tests whether amnesty, a provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), affected the labor market outcomes of the legalized population. Using the Legalized Population Survey (LPS) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) from 1987-1992, a quasi-experimental framework is developed to assess the differential impact of amnesty on the legalized population relative to a comparison group. After the implementation of the amnesty program, employment fell and unemployment rose for newly legalized men relative to the comparison group of already legal U.S. residents. For women, employment also fell and transitions out of the workforce increased among the newly legalized population. Increasing returns to skill, as captured by English proficiency, only played an important role in explaining the employment of newly legalized women. Finally, newly legalized men and women enjoyed higher wage growth rates than their working native counterparts, perhaps owing to their comparatively growing returns to U.S. educational attainment over this period.

Suggested Citation

  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Cynthia Bansak, 2011. "The Impact of Amnesty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Panel Study Using the Legalized Population Survey," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1106, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1106
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Neeraj Kaushal, 2006. "Amnesty Programs and the Labor Market Outcomes of Undocumented Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
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    Cited by:

    1. Pia M. Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2015. "The Impact of Temporary Protected Status on Immigrants' Labor Market Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 576-580, May.
    2. Altangerel, Khulan & van Ours, Jan, 2017. "U.S. immigration reform and the migration dynamics of Mexican males," Other publications TiSEM ed2fd098-2862-4d6a-9909-e, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    3. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Cynthia Bansak, 2014. "Employment Verification Mandates And The Labor Market Outcomes Of Likely Unauthorized And Native Workers," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(3), pages 671-680, July.
    4. 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).
    5. Carlo Devillanova & Francesco Fasani & Tommaso Frattini, 2014. "Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program," Development Working Papers 367, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 26 Jun 2014.
    6. repec:kap:decono:v:165:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10645-017-9311-x is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Joël MACHADO, 2017. "Dealing with Undocumented Immigrants: The Welfare Effects of Amnesties and Deportations," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 445-492, December.
    8. repec:spr:izamig:v:8:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1186_s40176-017-0107-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Chi, Miao & Drewianka, Scott, 2014. "How much is a green card worth? Evidence from Mexican men who marry women born in the U.S," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 103-116.
    10. Kalena E. Cortes, 2013. "Achieving the DREAM: The Effect of IRCA on Immigrant Youth Postsecondary Educational Access," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 428-432, May.
    11. Monras, Joan & Vázquez-Grenno, Javier & Elias Moreno, Ferran, 2017. "Understanding the Effects of Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 10687, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Pia M. Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny, 2012. "The Economic Consequences of Amnesty for Unauthorized Immigrants," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 32(1), pages 85-106, Winter.
    13. Joël MACHADO, 2012. "On the welfare impacts of an immigration amnesty," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2012010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    14. Altangerel, Khulan & van Ours, Jan C., 2017. "U.S. Immigration Reform and the Dynamics of Mexican Migration," CEPR Discussion Papers 12032, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Sherrie A. Kossoudji, 2016. "What are the consequences of regularizing undocumented immigrants?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 296-296, September.
    16. Khulan Altangerel & Jan van Ours, 2016. "U.S. Immigration Reform and the Dynamics of Mexican Migration," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-043/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    17. Altangerel, Khulan & van Ours, Jan C., 2017. "U.S. Immigration Reform and the Dynamics of Mexican Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 10771, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Christoph Albert, 2017. "The Labor Market Impact of Undocumented Immigrants: Job Creation vs. Job Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 6575, CESifo Group Munich.
    19. Cynthia Bansak, 2016. "Legalizing undocumented immigrants," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 245-245, March.
    20. Quinn Steigleder & Chad Sparber, 2017. "The effect of legal status on immigrant wages and occupational skills," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(2), pages 80-84, January.
    21. Simone Cremaschi & Carlo Devillanova, 2016. "Immigrants and Legal Status: Do Personal Contacts Matter?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1629, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    22. Pope, Nolan G., 2016. "The Effects of DACAmentation: The Impact of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals on Unauthorized Immigrants," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 98-114.
    23. Khulan Altangerel & Jan C. van Ours, 2017. "U.S. Immigration Reform and the Dynamics of Mexican Migration," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1704, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.

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    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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