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Guest Workers in the Underground Economy


  • Slobodan Djajic

    () (The Graduate Institute)

  • Alice Mesnard

    (City University)


Guest-worker programs have been providing rapidly growing economies with millions of temporary foreign workers over the last couple of decades. With the duration of stay strictly limited by program rules in most of the host countries and wages paid to guest workers often set at sub-market levels, many of the migrants choose to overstay and seek employment in the underground economy. This paper develops a general-equilibrium model that relates the flow of guest workers transiting to the underground economy to the rules of the program, enforcement measures of the host country and market conditions facing migrants at home and abroad.

Suggested Citation

  • Slobodan Djajic & Alice Mesnard, 2013. "Guest Workers in the Underground Economy," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1324, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1324

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Woodland, Alan D. & Yoshida, Chisato, 2006. "Risk preference, immigration policy and illegal immigration," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 500-513, December.
    2. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1986. "Illegal Immigration: The Host-Country Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 56-71, March.
    3. Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz, 1999. "Undocumented workers in the labor market: An analysis of the earnings of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(1), pages 91-116.
    4. Guido Friebel & Sergei Guriev, 2006. "Smuggling Humans: A Theory of Debt-financed Migration," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(6), pages 1085-1111, December.
    5. Frank Bean & B. Lowell & Lowell Taylor, 1988. "Undocumented Mexican immigrants and the earnings of other workers in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(1), pages 35-52, February.
    6. Peri, Giovanni, 2011. "Rethinking the area approach: Immigrants and the labor market in California," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-14, May.
    7. Sherrie A. Kossoudji & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2002. "Coming out of the Shadows: Learning about Legal Status and Wages from the Legalized Population," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 598-628, July.
    8. Slobodan Djajić, 2013. "Some Essentials Of A Workable Guest‐Worker Program," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(2), pages 739-766, May.
    9. Slobodan Djajić & Michael S. Michael, 2013. "Guest worker programs: A theoretical analysis of welfare of the host and source countries," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(3), pages 454-475, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Slobodan Djajic, 2014. "Guest-Worker Programs," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(2), pages 16-19, 07.
    2. repec:ces:ifodic:v:12:y:2014:i:2:p:19116207 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Temporary migration; undocumented workers; underground economy;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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