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Immigration Amnesty and Immigrant's Earnings

Author

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  • Ira N. Gang

    () (Rutgers University)

  • Myeong-Su Yun

    () (Tulane University)

Abstract

We review the role immigration amnesties have played in US immigration policy, placing them in the context of similar programs embarked upon by other nations. The theory of amnesties suggests rent-seeking, bargaining, and costs as reasons for a country offering an amnesty, often in conjunction with increased border controls, internal enforcement and employer penalties. We model an immigration amnesty in which the destination country has a formal sector employing only legal immigrants, an informal sector employing both legal and illegal immigrants, and open unemployment. The model focuses on the productivity enhancing effects of legalization, and establishes specific conditions under which unemployment, the informal sector and the formal sectors increase/decrease in size. Building on these insights, our empirical work examines Mexican migration to the US. We study who are migrants; among migrants, who are legalized via IRCA, and who are legalized via sponsorship of family or employer. Furthermore, to measure the impact of amnesty on welfare of migrants, we estimate earnings equations of various migrants groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Ira N. Gang & Myeong-Su Yun, 2006. "Immigration Amnesty and Immigrant's Earnings," Departmental Working Papers 200632, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200632
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    File URL: http://www.sas.rutgers.edu/virtual/snde/wp/2006-32.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Epstein, Gil S & Hillman, Arye L., 2000. "Social Harmony At The Boundaries Of The Welfare State: Immigrants And Social Transfers," CEPR Discussion Papers 2414, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Epstein, Gil S. & Weiss, Avi, 2001. "A Theory of Immigration Amnesties," IZA Discussion Papers 302, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz, 1999. "Undocumented workers in the labor market: An analysis of the earnings of legal and illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(1), pages 91-116.
    4. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Language skills and earnings among legalized aliens," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(1), pages 63-89.
    5. Gil S. Epstein, 2003. "Labor Market Interactions Between Legal and Illegal Immigrants," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 30-43, February.
    6. Dutta, Bhaskar & Gang, Ira N & Gangopadhyay, Shubhashis, 1989. "Subsidy Policies with Capital Accumulation: Maintaining Employment Levels," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 2(4), pages 301-318.
    7. Nancy H. Chau, 2003. "Concessional Amnesty and the Politics of Immigration Reforms," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 193-224, July.
    8. Ira N. Gang & Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, 1985. "A Note on Optimal Policies in Dual Economies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(Supplemen), pages 1067-1071.
    9. Sherrie A. Kossoudji & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2000. "IRCA's impact on the occupational concentration and mobility of newly-legalized Mexican men," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 81-98.
    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. Chiswick, Barry R, 1988. "Illegal Immigration and Immigration Control," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 101-115, Summer.
    12. Hillman, Arye L. & Weiss, Avi, 1999. "A theory of permissible illegal immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 585-604, November.
    13. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 239-281, April.
    14. Chau, Nancy H, 2001. "Strategic Amnesty and Credible Immigration Reform," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 604-634, July.
    15. Bucci, Gabriella A & Tenorio, Rafael, 1997. "Immigrant-Native Wage Differentials and Immigration Reform," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(3), pages 305-323, October.
    16. Kaushik Basu, 2003. "Analytical Development Economics: The Less Developed Economy Revisited," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262523442, January.
    17. Ira N. Gang & Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, 1990. "A Model of the Informal Sector in Development," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 17(5), pages 19-31, December.
    18. Gang, Ira N. & Gangopadhyay, Shubhashis, 1987. "Employment, output and the choice of techniques : The trade-off revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 321-327, April.
    19. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul M, 1996. "Ethnic Networks and Language Proficiency among Immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(1), pages 19-35, February.
    20. Karlson, Stephen H. & Katz, Eliakim, 2003. "A positive theory of immigration amnesties," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 231-239, February.
    21. Pia Orrenius & Madeline Zavodny, 2003. "Do amnesty programs reduce undocumented immigration? Evidence from Irca," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 40(3), pages 437-450, August.
    22. Gang, Ira N & Gangopadhyay, Shubhashis, 1987. "Optimal Policies in a Dual Economy with Open Unemployment and Surplus Labour," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(2), pages 378-387, June.
    23. Gang, Ira N & Tower, Edward, 1990. "Allocating Jobs under a Minimum Wage: Queues vs. Lotteries," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 66(194), pages 186-194, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joël MACHADO, 2012. "On the welfare impacts of an immigration amnesty," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2012010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    2. Gil Epstein & Avi Weiss, 2011. "The why, when, and how of immigration amnesties," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, pages 285-316.
    3. Magris, Francesco & Russo, Giuseppe, 2016. "Fiscal Revenues and Commitment in Immigration Amnesties," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 75-90.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    amnesty; illegal migration; border controls; IRCA;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • H59 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Other

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