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

  • Carlo Devillanova

    ()

    (Bocconi University, Dondena and CReAM)

  • Francesco Fasani

    ()

    (Queen Mary – University of London, LdA, CReAM and IZA)

  • Tommaso Frattini

    ()

    (University of Milan, LdA, CReAM and IZA)

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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File URL: http://www.dagliano.unimi.it/media/WP2014_367.pdf
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Paper provided by Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano in its series Development Working Papers with number 367.

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Length: 52
Date of creation: 26 Jun 2014
Date of revision: 26 Jun 2014
Handle: RePEc:csl:devewp:367
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  1. 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.
  2. Silvia Helena Barcellos, 2010. "Legalization and the Economic Status of Immigrants," Working Papers 754, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Cynthia Bansak, 2011. "The Impact of Amnesty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Panel Study Using the Legalized Population Survey," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1106, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
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  8. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline & Kerr, Emily, 2012. "Chinese Immigrants in the U.S. Labor Market: Effects of Post-Tiananmen Immigration Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 6287, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Gordon H. Hanson, 2006. "Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States," NBER Working Papers 12141, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Francesca Mazzolari, 2009. "Dual citizenship rights: do they make more and richer citizens?," Demography, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 169-191, February.
  13. Neeraj Kaushal, 2006. "Amnesty Programs and the Labor Market Outcomes of Undocumented Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
  14. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  15. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 437-450, August.
  16. 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), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  17. Andri Chassamboulli & Giovanni Peri, 2015. "The labor market effects of reducing the number of illegal immigrants," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 04-2015, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  18. Chau, Nancy H, 2001. "Strategic Amnesty and Credible Immigration Reform," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 604-34, July.
  19. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A & Shiells, Clinton R & Lowell, B Lindsay, 1995. "Immigration Reform: The Effects of Employer Sanctions and Legalization on Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 472-98, July.
  20. 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.
  21. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  22. Sherrie A. Kossoudji & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2002. "Coming out of the Shadows: Learning about Legal Status and Wages from the Legalized Population," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 598-628, July.
  23. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Cynthia Bansak & Steven Raphael, 2007. "Gender Differences in the Labor Market: Impact of IRCA," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 412-416, May.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
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