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Immigrant Crime and Legal Status: Evidence from Repeated Amnesty Programs

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  • Francesco Fasani

    (Queen Mary University of London)

Abstract

Do general amnesty programs lead to reductions in the crime rate among immigrants? We answer this question by exploiting cross-sectional and time variation in the number of immigrants legalized generated by the enactment of repeated amnesty programs between 1990 and 2005 in Italy. We address the potential endogeneity of the "legalization treatment" by instrumenting the actual number of legalized immigrants with alternative predicted measures based on past amnesty applications patterns and residential choices of documented and undocumented immigrants. We find that, in the year following an amnesty, regions in which a higher share of immigrants obtained legal status experienced a greater decline in non-EU immigrant crime rates, relative to other regions. The effect is statistically significant but relatively small and not persistent. In further results, we fail to find any evidence of substitution in the criminal market from other population groups - namely, EU immigrants and Italian citizens - and we observe a small and not persistent reduction in total offenses.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Fasani, 2018. "Immigrant Crime and Legal Status: Evidence from Repeated Amnesty Programs," Working Papers 867, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:867
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    4. Piopiunik, Marc & Ruhose, Jens, 2017. "Immigration, regional conditions, and crime: Evidence from an allocation policy in Germany," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 258-282.
    5. Ibáñez,Ana María & Rozo Villarraga,Sandra Viviana & Bahar,Dany, 2021. "Empowering Migrant Women : Impacts of Amnesties on Crime Reports," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9833, The World Bank.
    6. Megalokonomou, Rigissa & Vasilakis, Chrysovalantis, 2023. "The Effects of Exposure to Refugees on Crime: Evidence from the Greek Islands," IZA Discussion Papers 16502, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Kayaoglu, Aysegul, 2022. "Do refugees cause crime?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).
    8. Emanuele Bracco & Luisanna Onnis, 2022. "Immigration, amnesties, and the shadow economy," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 74(4), pages 1135-1162, October.
    9. Mariani, Fabio & Mercier, Marion, 2021. "Immigration and crime: The role of self-selection and institutions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 538-564.
    10. Clotilde Mahé & Sergio Parra-Cely, 2021. "Panic? Probing Angst over Immigration and Crime," DEM Discussion Paper Series 21-04, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.
    11. Leiva, Mauricio & Vasquez-Lavín, Felipe & Ponce Oliva, Roberto D., 2020. "Do immigrants increase crime? Spatial analysis in a middle-income country," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    12. 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.
    13. Lonsky, Jakub & Ruiz, Isabel & Vargas-Silva, Carlos, 2022. "Trade networks, heroin markets, and the labor market outcomes of Vietnam veterans," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    14. Luca Pieroni & Melcior Rosselló Roig & Luca Salmasi & Gilberto Turati, 2023. "Legal status and voluntary abortions by immigrants," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def126, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    15. Ajzenman, Nicolas & Dominguez-Rivera, Patricio & Undurraga, Raimundo, 2021. "Immigration, Crime, and Crime (Mis)Perceptions," IZA Discussion Papers 14087, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Rigissa Megalokonomou & Chrysovalantis Vasilakis, 2023. "The Effects of Exposure to Refugees on Crime: Evidence from the Greek Islands," Monash Economics Working Papers 2023-20, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    17. Dehos, Fabian T., 2021. "The refugee wave to Germany and its impact on crime," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C).
    18. 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.
    19. Giulia Bettin, 2019. "Il valore economico dell?immigrazione," PRISMA Economia - Societ? - Lavoro, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2019(2), pages 12-30.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    illegal migration; legalization; migration policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • K37 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Immigration Law

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