When Migrants Mobilize Against Labor Exploitation: Evidence from the Italian Farmlands

66 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2023

See all articles by Gemma Dipoppa

Gemma Dipoppa

Brown University, Political Science

Date Written: September 5, 2023


Migrant labor exploitation is widespread in developed countries, which host growing populations of undocumented migrants. While denouncing by migrants is essential to prosecute exploitative employers, an undocumented community actively hiding from the state is unlikely to whistleblow. I consider an intervention giving migrant farmworkers in Italy information and incentives to report their racketeers. I leverage the intervention’s staggered (phased) rollout to study its effects in a difference-in-differences framework. The intervention empowered migrants to denounce their exploitation to the authorities; it increased the prosecution of criminal organizations, responsible for racketeering migrants; and it raised awareness among natives, who became more favorable towards immigration and parties supporting it. These findings highlight the conditions under which undocumented migrants can take political action for their socioeconomic advancement. Unlike other integration policies which have been shown to backlash, highlighting migrants’ vulnerability to exploitation might foster solidarity and more liberal immigration attitudes among natives.

Keywords: migrant labor exploitation, organized crime, public opinion, immigration, farm workers

JEL Classification: D72, D78, I32, J15, J47, J51, J61, J83

Suggested Citation

Dipoppa, Gemma, When Migrants Mobilize Against Labor Exploitation: Evidence from the Italian Farmlands (September 5, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4562386 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4562386

Gemma Dipoppa (Contact Author)

Brown University, Political Science ( email )

Box 1860
Providence, RI 02912
United States

HOME PAGE: http://gemmadipoppa.com

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