The Impact of Amnesty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Panel Study Using the Legalized Population Survey

40 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2011

See all articles by Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes

San Diego State University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Cynthia Bansak

Saint Lawrence University - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper tests whether amnesty, a provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), affected the labor market outcomes of the legalized population. Using the Legalized Population Survey (LPS) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) from 1987-1992, a quasi-experimental framework is developed to assess the differential impact of amnesty on the legalized population relative to a comparison group. After the implementation of the amnesty program, employment fell and unemployment rose for newly legalized men relative to the comparison group of already legal U.S. residents. For women, employment also fell and transitions out of the workforce increased among the newly legalized population. Increasing returns to skill, as captured by English proficiency, only played an important role in explaining the employment of newly legalized women. Finally, newly legalized men and women enjoyed higher wage growth rates than their working native counterparts, perhaps owing to their comparatively growing returns to U.S. educational attainment over this period.

Keywords: amnesty, legalization, labor market, Legalized Population Survey

JEL Classification: J6

Suggested Citation

Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina and Bansak, Cynthia, The Impact of Amnesty on Labor Market Outcomes: A Panel Study Using the Legalized Population Survey. IZA Discussion Paper No. 5576. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1790687

Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes (Contact Author)

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States
619-594-1663 (Phone)
619-594-5062 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Cynthia Bansak

Saint Lawrence University - Department of Economics ( email )

One Romoda Drive
Canton, NY 13617
United States

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