IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/22102.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Labor Supply of Undocumented Immigrants

Author

Listed:
  • George J. Borjas

Abstract

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 11.4 million undocumented persons reside in the United States. Congress and President Obama are considering a number of proposals to regularize the status of the undocumented population and provide a “path to citizenship.” Any future change in the immigration status of this group is bound to have significant effects on the labor market, on the number of persons that qualify for various government-provided benefits, on the timing of retirement, on the size of the population receiving Social Security benefits, and on the funding of almost all of these government programs. This paper provides a comprehensive empirical study of the labor supply behavior of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Using newly developed methods that attempt to identify undocumented status for foreign-born persons sampled in the Current Population Surveys, the empirical analysis documents a number of findings, including the fact that the work propensity of undocumented men is much larger than that of other groups in the population; that this gap has grown over the past two decades; and that the labor supply elasticity of undocumented men is very close to zero, suggesting that their labor supply is almost perfectly inelastic.

Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas, 2016. "The Labor Supply of Undocumented Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 22102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22102
    Note: AG LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w22102.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Neeraj Kaushal, 2006. "Amnesty Programs and the Labor Market Outcomes of Undocumented Workers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
    2. Bohn, Sarah & Lofstrom, Magnus, 2012. "Employment Effects of State Legislation against the Hiring of Unauthorized Immigrant Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 6598, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Sarah Bohn & Magnus Lofstrom & Steven Raphael, 2014. "Did the 2007 Legal Arizona Workers Act Reduce the State's Unauthorized Immigrant Population?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 258-269, May.
    4. Fujita, Shigeru, 2014. "On the causes of declines in the labor force participation rate," Research Rap Special Report, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Feb.
    5. Stephanie Aaronson & Bruce Fallick & Andrew Figura & Jonathan Pingle & William Wascher, 2006. "The Recent Decline in the Labor Force Participation Rate and Its Implications for Potential Labor Supply," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(1), pages 69-154.
    6. Regis Barnichon & Andrew Figura, 2016. "Declining Desire to Work and Downward Trends in Unemployment and Participation," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 449-494.
    7. Stephanie Aaronson & Tomaz Cajner & Bruce Fallick & Felix Galbis-Reig & Christopher Smith & William Wascher, 2014. "Labor Force Participation: Recent Developments and Future Prospects," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 45(2 (Fall)), pages 197-275.
    8. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
    9. Robert Warren & Jeffrey Passel, 1987. "A Count of the Uncountable: Estimates of Undocumented Aliens Counted in the 1980 United States Census," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 24(3), pages 375-393, August.
    10. 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.
    11. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
    12. Julie L. Hotchkiss & Fernando Rios-Avila, 2013. "Identifying Factors behind the Decline in the U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate," Business and Economic Research, Macrothink Institute, vol. 3(1), pages 257-275, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Frédéric Docquier & Riccardo Turati & Jérôme Valette & Chrysovalantis Vasilakis, 2016. "Multiculturalism and Growth: Skill-Specific Evidence from the Post-World War II Period," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016028, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. repec:eee:labeco:v:51:y:2018:i:c:p:202-226 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:regeco:v:67:y:2017:i:c:p:119-134 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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.
    5. Orrenius, Pia M. & Zavodny, Madeline, 2017. "Unauthorized Mexican Workers in the United States: Recent Inflows and Possible Future Scenarios," Working Papers 1701, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22102. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.