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Does employing undocumented workers give firms a competitive advantage?

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  • J. David Brown
  • Julie L. Hotchkiss
  • Myriam Quispe-Agnoli

Abstract

Using administrative data from the state of Georgia, this paper finds that on average, among all firms, employing undocumented workers reduces a firm's hazard of exit by 19 percent. However, the impact varies greatly across sectors. In addition, a firm is at a distinct disadvantage if it does not employ undocumented workers but its rivals do. The advantage to employing undocumented workers increases as more firms in the industry do so. In addition, the advantage to a firm from employing undocumented workers decreases with the skill level of the firm's workers, increases with the breadth of a firm's market, and increases with the labor intensity of the firm's production process.

Suggested Citation

  • J. David Brown & Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, 2012. "Does employing undocumented workers give firms a competitive advantage?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2012-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2012-02
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    File URL: http://www.frbatlanta.org/documents/pubs/wp/wp1202.pdf
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    1. On the advantages of hiring undocumented workers
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-03-29 20:43:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Ortega, Francesc & Hsin, Amy, 2018. "Occupational Barriers and the Labor Market Penalty from Lack of Legal Status," IZA Discussion Papers 11680, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. John M. Abowd & Kevin L. McKinney & Nellie L. Zhao, 2018. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility Trends in the United States: Nationally Representative Estimates from Longitudinally Linked Employer-Employee Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 183-300.
    3. Ted Mouw, 2016. "The Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Native Workers: Evidence using Longitudinal Data from the LEHD," Working Papers 16-56, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli & Fernando Rios-Avila, 2012. "The wage impact of undocumented workers," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2012-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    5. Edwards, Ryan & Ortega, Francesc, 2017. "The economic contribution of unauthorized workers: An industry analysis," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 119-134.
    6. Kaz Miyagiwa & Yasuhiro Sato, 2019. "Illegal immigration, unemployment, and multiple destinations," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(1), pages 118-144, January.
    7. Cheng, Wenya & Morrow, John, 2018. "Firm productivity differences from factor markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 88357, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2013. "New Frontiers Of Immigration Research: Cities And Firms," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-7, February.
    9. J. David Brown & Serife Genc & Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, 2014. "Undocumented Workers' Employment Across U.S. Business Cycles," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(3), pages 653-670, July.
    10. Ortega Francesc & Edwards Ryan & Hsin Amy, 2018. "The Economic Effects of Providing Legal Status to DREAMers," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 9(1), pages 1-18, June.
    11. Brunello, Giorgio & Lodigiani, Elisabetta & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2020. "Does low-skilled immigration increase profits? Evidence from Italian local labour markets," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    12. Sandra Orozco-Aleman & Heriberto Gonzalez-Lozano, 2018. "Labor Market Effects of Immigration Policies Border Enforcement and Amnesty," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 150-177, June.

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