Effects of Immigrant Legalization on Crime
AbstractI examine the effects that the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which legalized almost 3 million immigrants, had on crime in the United States. I exploit the IRCA's quasi-random timing as well as geographic variation in the intensity of treatment to isolate causal impacts. I find decreases in crime of 3-5 percent, primarily due to decline in property crimes, equivalent to 120,000-180,000 fewer violent and property crimes committed each year due to legalization. I calibrate a labor market model of crime, finding that much of the drop in crime can be explained by greater labor market opportunities among applicants.
CitationBaker, Scott R. 2015. "Effects of Immigrant Legalization on Crime." American Economic Review, 105 (5): 210-13. DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20151041
- J15 Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- J18 Demographic Economics: Public Policy
- K42 Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law