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The Employment Effects of Mexican Repatriations: Evidence from the 1930's

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  • Jongkwan Lee
  • Giovanni Peri
  • Vasil Yasenov

Abstract

During the period 1929-34 a campaign forcing the repatriation of Mexicans and Mexican Americans was carried out in the U.S. by states and local authorities. The claim of politicians at the time was that repatriations would reduce local unemployment and give jobs to Americans, alleviating the local effects of the Great Depression. This paper uses this episode to examine the consequences of Mexican repatriations on labor market outcomes of natives. Analyzing 893 cities using full count decennial Census data in the period 1930-40, we find that repatriation of Mexicans was associated with small decreases in native employment and increases in native unemployment. These results are robust to the inclusion of many controls. We then apply an instrumental variable strategy based on the differential size of Mexican communities in 1930, as well as a matching method, to estimate a causal "average treatment effect." Confirming the OLS regressions, the causal estimates do not support the claim that repatriations had any expansionary effects on native employment, but suggest instead that they had no effect on, or possibly depressed, their employment and wages.

Suggested Citation

  • Jongkwan Lee & Giovanni Peri & Vasil Yasenov, 2017. "The Employment Effects of Mexican Repatriations: Evidence from the 1930's," NBER Working Papers 23885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23885
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cem Özgüzel, 2020. "The Cushioning Effect of Immigrant Mobility: Evidence from the Great Recession in Spain," Working Papers halshs-03000365, HAL.
    2. Abramitzky, Ran & Ager, Philipp & Boustan, Leah & Cohen, Elior David & Hansen, Casper Worm, 2019. "The Effects of Immigration on the Economy: Lessons from the 1920s Border Closure," CEPR Discussion Papers 14165, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Andersson, David & Karadja, Mounir & Prawitz, Erik, 2020. "Mass Migration and Technological Change," SocArXiv 74ub8, Center for Open Science.
    4. David Escamilla-Guerrero, 2020. "Revisiting Mexican migration in the Age of Mass Migration: New evidence from individual border crossings," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(4), pages 207-225, October.
    5. East, Chloe N. & Luck, Philip & Mansour, Hani & Velasquez, Andrea, 2018. "The Labor Market Effects of Immigration Enforcement," IZA Discussion Papers 11486, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Churchill, Brandyn F. & Dickinson, Andrew & Mackay, Taylor & Sabia, Joseph J., 2019. "The Effect of E-Verify Laws on Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 12798, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Cem Özgüzel, 2020. "The Cushioning Effect of Immigrant Mobility: Evidence from the Great Recession in Spain," PSE Working Papers halshs-03000365, HAL.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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