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Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program

  • Carlo Devillanova

    ()

    (University of Bocconi)

  • Francesco Fasani

    ()

    (Queen Mary University)

  • Tommaso Frattini

    ()

    (University of Milan)

This paper estimates the causal effect of the prospect of legal status on the employment outcomes of undocumented immigrants. Our identification strategy exploits a natural experiment provided by the 2002 amnesty program in Italy that introduced an exogenous discontinuity in eligibility based on date of arrival. We find that the prospect of legal status significantly increases the employment probability of immigrants that are potentially eligible for the amnesty relative to other undocumented immigrants. The size of the estimated effect is equivalent to about two thirds of the increase in employment that undocumented immigrants in our sample normally experience in their first year after arrival in Italy. These findings are robust to several falsification exercises.

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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 1415.

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Date of creation: Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1415
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  1. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny & Emily Kerr, 2012. "Chinese Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Market: Effects of Post-Tiananmen Immigration Policy," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 456-482, 06.
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  10. Devillanova, Carlo, 2008. "Social networks, information and health care utilization: Evidence from undocumented immigrants in Milan," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 265-286, March.
  11. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Legal status and the criminal activity of immigrants," Working Papers 052, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), UniversitĂ  Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  12. Francesca Mazzolari, 2009. "Dual citizenship rights: do they make more and richer citizens?," Demography, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 169-191, February.
  13. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  14. Andri Chassamboulli & Giovanni Peri, 2014. "The Labor Market Effects of Reducing Undocumented Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 19932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6798, Inter-American Development Bank.
  16. Facchini, Giovanni & Testa, Cecilia, 2014. "The Rhetoric of Closed Borders: Quotas, Lax Enforcement and Illegal Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 8457, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. Ying Pan, 2012. "The Impact of Legal Status on Immigrants’ Earnings and Human Capital: Evidence from the IRCA 1986," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 119-142, June.
  18. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Bansak, Cynthia, 2011. "The Impact of Amnesty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Panel Study Using the Legalized Population Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 5576, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. 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, vol. 12(1), pages 91-116.
  20. 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.
  21. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 437-450, August.
  23. Sherrie A. Kossoudji & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2000. "IRCA's impact on the occupational concentration and mobility of newly-legalized Mexican men," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 81-98.
  24. Neeraj Kaushal, 2006. "Amnesty Programs and the Labor Market Outcomes of Undocumented Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
  25. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Mazzolari, Francesca, 2010. "Remittances to Latin America from migrants in the United States: Assessing the impact of amnesty programs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 323-335, March.
  26. Silvia Helena Barcellos, 2010. "Legalization and the Economic Status of Immigrants," Working Papers 754, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
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