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A Role for Sunspots in Explaining Endogenous Fluctutations in Illegal Immigration

In this paper we provide an alternative explanation for why illegal immigration can exhibit substantial fluctuations despite a constant wage gap. We develop a model economy in which migrants make decisions in the face of uncertain border enforcement and lump-sum transfers from the host country. The uncertainty is extrinsic in nature, a sunspot, and arises as a result of ambiguity regarding the commodity price of money. Migrants are restricted from participating in state-contingent insurance markets in the host country, whereas host country natives are not. We establish the existence of sunspot equilibria that are not mere randomizations over certainty equilibria. Volatility in migration flows stems from two distinct sources: the tension between transfers inducing migration and enforcement discouraging it and secondly the existence of a sunspot. Finally, we examine the impact of a change in tax/transfer policies by the government on migration.

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File URL: http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2003/WP0312_haslag.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 0312.

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Length: 41 pgs.
Date of creation: 26 Sep 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0312
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Web page: http://economics.missouri.edu/

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  1. Woodford, Michael, 1986. "Stationary sunspot equilibria in a finance constrained economy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 128-137, October.
  2. Benhabib, Jess & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1996. "Indeterminancy and Sunspots with Constant Returns," Working Papers 96-44, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Farmer, Roger E.A. & Woodford, Michael, 1997. "Self-Fulfilling Prophecies And The Business Cycle," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(04), pages 740-769, December.
  4. Roger E.A. Farmer & Jang Ting Guo, 1992. "Real Business Cycles and the Animal Spirits Hypothesis," UCLA Economics Working Papers 680, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Guzman, Mark G. & Shell, Karl, 1998. "Price Level Volatility: A Simple Model of Money Taxes and Sunspots," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 401-430, August.
  6. Azariadis, Costas & Guesnerie, Roger, 1986. "Sunspots and Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 725-37, October.
  7. Stark, Oded & Wang, You Qiang, 2002. "Migration dynamics," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 159-164, July.
  8. Cass, David, 1992. "Sunspots and Incomplete Financial Markets: The General Case," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 341-58, July.
  9. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
  10. Woodford, Michael, 1987. "Three Questions about Sunspot Equilibria as an Explanation of Economic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 93-98, May.
  11. Keister, Todd, 1998. "Money Taxes and Efficiency When Sunspots Matter," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 43-68, November.
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