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Remittances to Latin America from Migrants in the United States: Assessing the Impact of Amnesty Programs

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  • Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina

    () (San Diego State University)

  • Mazzolari, Francesca

    () (Centro Studi Confindustria)

Abstract

The magnitude of remittance flows to Latin America exceeds the combined inflows of foreign direct investment and official development assistance to the region. Since the United States is the destination country of the vast majority of migrants from Mexico, as well as from other Latin American countries, U.S. immigration policy can have a significant impact on the volume of remittances to the Latin American region. This paper studies how a generalized amnesty – a provision in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), affected immigrants' remitting patterns. In models that control for immigrants' length of residence in the United States and for economic conditions in both the U.S. state of residence and the country of origin, we estimate substantial post-legalization drops in remittances sent home by Mexican-born migrants who legalized through IRCA. Given the potential positive impact of remittances on investment levels, entrepreneurship rates and the development of the financial sector, this finding underscores the importance of gaining a better understanding of the impact that immigration policies in immigrant-receiving countries may have on the stream of remittance flows to immigrant-sending communities in developing regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Mazzolari, Francesca, 2009. "Remittances to Latin America from Migrants in the United States: Assessing the Impact of Amnesty Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 4318, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4318
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Simone Cremaschi & Carlo Devillanova, 2016. "Immigrants and Legal Status: Do Personal Contacts Matter?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1629, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, 2014. "The good and the bad in remittance flows," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 1-97, November.
    3. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Thitima Puttitanun, 2014. "Remittances and immigration enforcement," IZA Journal of Migration and Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-26, December.
    4. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Susan Pozo, 2010. "Remittances and their Response to Portfolio Variables," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1021, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    5. Balli, Faruk & Guven, Cahit & Balli, Hatice O. & Gounder, Rukmani, 2010. "The Role of Institutions, Culture, and Wellbeing in Explaining Bilateral Remittance Flows: Evidence Both Cross-Country and Individual-Level Analysis," MPRA Paper 29609, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Devillanova, Carlo & Fasani, Francesco & Frattini, Tommaso, 2014. "Employment of Undocumented Immigrants and the Prospect of Legal Status: Evidence from an Amnesty Program," IZA Discussion Papers 8151, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. 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.
    8. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Pozo, Susan, 2012. "Remittances and Portfolio Values: An Inquiry Using Spanish Immigrants from Africa, Europe and the Americas," IZA Discussion Papers 6622, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Vaira-Lucero, Matias & Nahm, Daehoon & Tani, Massimiliano, 2012. "The Impact of the 1996 US Immigration Policy Reform (IIRIRA) on Mexican Migrants' Remittances," IZA Discussion Papers 6546, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Pozo, Susan, 2013. "Remittances and Portfolio Values: An Inquiry using Immigrants from Africa, Europe, and the Americas," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 83-95.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    remittances; Latin American migrants; legal status; amnesty;

    JEL classification:

    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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