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Immigrant Crime and Legal Status: Evidence from Repeated Amnesty Programs

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  • Francesco Fasani

    () (Queen Mary University of London)

Abstract

Do general amnesty programs lead to reductions in the crime rate among immigrants? We answer this question by exploiting both cross-sectional and time variation in the number of immigrants legalized generated by the enactment of repeated amnesty programs between 1990 and 2005 in Italy. We address the potential endogeneity of the "legalization treatment" by instrumenting the actual number of legalized immigrants with alternative predicted measures based on past amnesty applications patterns and residential choices of documented and undocumented immigrants. We find that, in the year following an amnesty, regions in which a higher share of immigrants obtained legal status experienced a greater decline in non-EU immigrant crime rates, relative to other regions. The effect is statistically significant but relatively small and not persistent. In further results, we fail to find any evidence of substitution in the criminal market from other population groups - namely, EU immigrants and Italian citizens - and we observe small and not persistent reduction in total offenses.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Fasani, 2016. "Immigrant Crime and Legal Status: Evidence from Repeated Amnesty Programs," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1621, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1621
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dustmann, Christian & Glitz, Albrecht & Vogel, Thorsten, 2010. "Employment, wages, and the economic cycle: Differences between immigrants and natives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-17, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1991. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Less-skilled Natives," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 201-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. Piopiunik, Marc & Ruhose, Jens, 2017. "Immigration, regional conditions, and crime: Evidence from an allocation policy in Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 258-282.
    6. Alessandro Barbarino & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2014. "The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence from Several Italian Collective Pardons," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 1-37, February.
    7. A. Colin Cameron & Douglas L. Miller, 2015. "A Practitioner’s Guide to Cluster-Robust Inference," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 317-372.
    8. Sarah Bohn & Matthew Freedman & Emily Owens, 2015. "The Criminal Justice Response to Policy Interventions: Evidence from Immigration Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 214-219, May.
    9. Brian Bell & Francesco Fasani & Stephen Machin, 2013. "Crime and Immigration: Evidence from Large Immigrant Waves," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1278-1290, October.
    10. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(3), pages 437-450, August.
    11. Thomas J. Miles & Adam B. Cox, 2014. "Does Immigration Enforcement Reduce Crime? Evidence from Secure Communities," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(4), pages 937-973.
    12. Aaron Chalfin, 2014. "What is the Contribution of Mexican Immigration to U.S. Crime Rates? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in Mexico," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 220-268.
    13. Jörg L. Spenkuch, 2014. "Understanding the Impact of Immigration on Crime," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 177-219.
    14. repec:aea:aejpol:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:117-51 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Piopiunik, Marc & Ruhose, Jens, 2017. "Immigration, regional conditions, and crime: Evidence from an allocation policy in Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 258-282.
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    illegal migration; legalization; migration policy;

    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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