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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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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Ajzenman, Nicolas & Dominguez-Rivera, Patricio & Undurraga, Raimundo, 2021. "Immigration, Crime, and Crime (Mis)Perceptions," IZA Discussion Papers 14087, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Dehos, Fabian T., 2021. "The refugee wave to Germany and its impact on crime," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C).
    5. 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.
    6. Adda, Jérôme & Pinotti, Paolo & Tura, Giulia, 2020. "There's More to Marriage than Love: The Effect of Legal Status and Cultural Distance on Intermarriages and Separations," CEPR Discussion Papers 14432, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Emanuele Bracco & Luisanna Onnis, 2022. "Immigration, amnesties, and the shadow economy," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 74(4), pages 1135-1162, October.
    8. 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.
    9. 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).
    10. Giulia Bettin, 2019. "Il valore economico dell?immigrazione," PRISMA Economia - Societ? - Lavoro, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2019(2), pages 12-30.
    11. Dale T. Manning & Jesse Burkhardt, 2022. "The local effects of federal law enforcement policies: Evidence from sanctuary jurisdictions and crime," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 423-438, July.
    12. Kayaoglu, Aysegul, 2022. "Do refugees cause crime?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).

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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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