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

Author

Listed:
  • Carlo Devillanova

    (University of Bocconi)

  • Francesco Fasani

    (Queen Mary University)

  • Tommaso Frattini

    (University of Milan)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo Devillanova & Francesco Fasani & Tommaso Frattini, 2014. "Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1415, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1415
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Fasani, 2015. "Understanding the Role of Immigrants’ Legal Status: Evidence from Policy Experiments," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(3-4), pages 722-763.
    2. Sherrie A. Kossoudji, 2016. "What are the consequences of regularizing undocumented immigrants?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 296-296, September.
    3. Battisti, Michele & Giesing, Yvonne & Laurentsyeva, Nadzeya, 2019. "Can job search assistance improve the labour market integration of refugees? Evidence from a field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    4. Joan Monras & Javier Vázquez-Grenno & Ferran Elias, 2017. "Understanding the Effects of Legalizing Undocumented Immigrants," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1708, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    5. Giuntella, Osea & Lonsky, Jakub, 2020. "The effects of DACA on health insurance, access to care, and health outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    6. Cynthia Bansak, 2016. "Legalizing undocumented immigrants," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 245-245, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Francesco Fasani, 2018. "Immigrant crime and legal status: evidence from repeated amnesty programs," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 887-914.
    9. Eric Schuss, 2017. "Substantial Labor Market Effects of the Residency Status: How Important Are Initial Conditions at Arrival for Immigrants?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 952, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Cynthia Bansak & Sarah Pearlman, 2021. "The impact of legalizing unauthorized immigrants," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 245-245, May.
    11. Edoardo Di Porto & Enrica Maria Martino & Paolo Naticchioni, 2018. "Back to Black? The Impact of Regularizing Migrant Workers," CSEF Working Papers 517, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    12. Emanuele Bracco & Luisanna Onnis, 2022. "Immigration, amnesties, and the shadow economy," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 74(4), pages 1135-1162, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Illegal immigration; Natural experiment; Legalization;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • K37 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Immigration Law

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