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Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement

  • Hanson, G.H.
  • Spilimbergo, A.

In this paper, we examine the correlation between sectoral shocks and border enforcement in the United States. Enforcement of national borders is the main policy instrument the U.S. government uses to combat illegal immigration. The motivation for the exercise is to see whether border enforcement falls following positive shocks to sectors that are intensive in the use of undocumented labor, as would be consistent with political economy models of how enforcement policy against illegal immigration is determined. The main finding is that border enforcement is negatively correlated with lagged relative price changes in the apparel, fruits and vegetables, and slaughtered livestock industries and with housing starts in the western United States. This suggests that authorities relax border enforcement when the demand for undocumented workers is high.

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Paper provided by Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan in its series Working Papers with number 449.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mie:wpaper:449
Contact details of provider: Postal: ANN ARBOR MICHIGAN 48109
Web page: http://fordschool.umich.edu/rsie/

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  1. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Kevin Lang, 1991. "Undocumented Mexican-born Workers in the United States: How Many, How Permanent?," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 77-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gabriella Bucci & Rafael Tenorio, 1996. "On financing the internal enforcement of illegal immigration policies," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 65-81, February.
  3. Gordon H. Hanson & Raymond Robertson & Antonio Spilimbergo, 1999. "Does Border Enforcement Protect U.S. Workers from Illegal Immigration?," NBER Working Papers 7054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1986. "Illegal Immigration: The Host-Country Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 56-71, March.
  5. H. Moehring, 1988. "Symbol versus substance in legislative activity: The case of illegal immigration," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 287-294, June.
  6. 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.
  7. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, August.
  8. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Bond, Eric W. & Chen, Tain-Jy, 1987. "The welfare effects of illegal immigration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 315-328, November.
  10. Djajic, Slobodan, 1997. "Illegal Immigration and Resource Allocation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(1), pages 97-117, February.
  11. Richard B. Freeman, 1982. "Crime and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 1031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. André Sapir, 1983. "Foreign competition, immigration and structural adjustment," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8276, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. Pravin Krishna & Devashish Mitra, 1999. "A Theory of Unilateralism and Reciprocity in Trade Policy," Working Papers 99-9, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  14. Godfrey, L G, 1994. "Testing for Serial Correlation by Variable Addition in Dynamic Models Estimated by Instrumental Variables," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 550-59, August.
  15. Djajic, Slobodan, 1987. "Illegal aliens, unemployment and immigration policy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 235-249, February.
  16. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "Trade Liberalization and the Theory of Endogenous Protection: An Econometric Study of U.S. Import Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 138-60, February.
  17. Giovanni Maggi & Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, 1999. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1135-1155, December.
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