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What drives US Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes

  • Giovanni Facchini

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Milan, Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, CEPR and CES-Ifo)

  • Max Steinhardt

    ()

    (Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI), Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano and ECARES)

Immigration is today one of the most hotly debated policy issues in the United States. Despite marked divergence of opinion even within political parties, several important reforms have been in-troduced in the post 1965 era. The purpose of this paper is to carry out a systematic analysis of the drivers of the voting behavior of US representatives on immigration policy in the period 1970-2006, and in particular to assess the role of economic factors at the district level. Our findings suggest that representatives from more skilled labor abundant districts are more likely to support an open immi-gration policy towards the unskilled, whereas the opposite is true for representatives from more un-skilled labor abundant districts. This evidence is robust to the introduction of an array of additional economic and non-economic characteristics of the districts, and suggests that a simple factor analy-sis model can go a long way in explaining the voting behavior on immigration policy.

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Paper provided by Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano in its series Development Working Papers with number 294.

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Length: 36
Date of creation: 31 Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:294
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  1. Jorge G. Gonzalez & Nipoli Kamdar, 2000. "Do Not Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor! Determinants of Legislator Voting on Immigration Issues," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 127-143, Spring.
  2. Hanson, G.H. & Spilimbergo, A., 1999. "Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement," Working Papers 449, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  3. Timothy J. Hatton, 2004. "Seeking asylum in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 5-62, 04.
  4. Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 510-530, August.
  5. Facchini, Giovanni & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "The political economy of international factor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 201-219, September.
  6. George J. Borjas, 2005. "Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration," NBER Working Papers 11610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2009. "Does the Welfare State Affect Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants? Evidence across Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 295-314, May.
  8. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2007. "Public Finance And Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 1-33, 03.
  9. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1996. "Illegal Immigration, Border Enforcement, and Relative Wages: Evidence from Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico Border," NBER Working Papers 5592, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2000. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0839, Econometric Society.
  11. Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2004. "Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Policy in Europe," NBER Working Papers 10680, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. David Card, 2009. "Immigration and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 1-21, May.
  13. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
  14. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
  15. Borge, Lars-Erik & Rattso, J.Jorn, 2004. "Income distribution and tax structure: Empirical test of the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 805-826, August.
  16. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Peri, Giovanni, 2008. "Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the Theory and the Empirics," CEPR Discussion Papers 6916, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  18. Money, Jeannette, 1997. "No Vacancy: The Political Geography of Immigration Control in Advanced Industrial Countries," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 685-720, September.
  19. Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Anna Maria & Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Do Interest Groups Affect Immigration?," IZA Discussion Papers 3183, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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