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

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Listed:
  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Facchini & Max Steinhardt, 2010. "What drives US Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes," Development Working Papers 294, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:294
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Immigration policy; Voting; Political Economy;
    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

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