Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement

37 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 1999 Last revised: 13 Oct 2010

See all articles by Gordon H. Hanson

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Antonio Spilimbergo

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - The William Davidson Institute

Date Written: August 1999

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the correlation between sectoral shocks and border enforcement in the United States. Enforcement of national borders is the main policy instrument the U.S. government uses to combat illegal immigration. The motivation for the exercise is to see whether border enforcement falls following positive shocks to sectors that are intensive in the use of undocumented labor, as would be consistent with political economy models of how enforcement policy against illegal immigration is determined. The main finding is that border enforcement is negatively correlated with lagged relative price changes in the apparel, fruits and vegetables, and slaughtered livestock industries and with housing starts in the western United States. This suggests that authorities relax border enforcement when the demand for undocumented workers is high.

Suggested Citation

Hanson, Gordon H. and Spilimbergo, Antonio, Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement (August 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7315. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=197188

Gordon H. Hanson (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Antonio Spilimbergo

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Research Department ( email )

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Washington, DC 20431
United States
202-623-6346 (Phone)
202-623-6336 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - The William Davidson Institute ( email )

724 E. University Ave.
Wyly Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234
United States

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