Strategic Amnesty and Credible Immigration Reform

Posted: 10 Sep 2001

See all articles by Nancy H. Chau

Nancy H. Chau

Cornell University - School of Applied Economics and Management; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Why do countries that impose employer sanctions to deter illegal entry of foreign workers nevertheless grant amnesty to illegal immigrants? This paper provides a positive theory of amnesty provision in a model where the constrained optimal immigration reform, involving the joint use of employer sanctions and border interdictions, is time-inconsistent. In particular, our framework demonstrates that host countries of immigration can enhance the credibility of their immigration reforms by "binding their own hands", and strategically grant a socially excessive amount of amnesty to illegal workers.

Keywords: Illegal immigration, amnesty

JEL Classification: F22, J68

Suggested Citation

Chau, Nancy H., Strategic Amnesty and Credible Immigration Reform. Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 19, No. 3, pp. 604-634, July 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=277349

Nancy H. Chau (Contact Author)

Cornell University - School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-4463 (Phone)
607-255-9984 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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