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States Taking the Reins? Employment Verification Requirements and Local Labor Market Outcomes


  • Shalise Ayromloo
  • Benjamin Feigenberg
  • Darren Lubotsky


We estimate the impact of state-level “E-Verify” legislation that mandates employment eligibility verification for private-sector workers. We document declines in formal sector employment and employment turnover after mandate passage, with effects concentrated among those likeliest to be work-ineligible. Using newly available data, we show that larger firms are far more likely to comply with mandates. Heterogeneity in adherence leads to substantial within-state employment spillovers from larger to smaller firms, as well as a reduction in the number of large firms. We find no evidence that work-ineligible populations relocate or that native-born workers’ labor market outcomes improve in response to mandates.

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  • Shalise Ayromloo & Benjamin Feigenberg & Darren Lubotsky, 2020. "States Taking the Reins? Employment Verification Requirements and Local Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 26676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26676
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    JEL classification:

    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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