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What drives U.S. immigration policy? Evidence from congressional roll call votes

Giovanni Facchini () and Max Steinhardt ()

Journal of Public Economics, 2011, vol. 95, issue 7, 734-743

Abstract: Immigration is today one of the most hotly debated policy issues in the United States. Despite marked divergence of opinion even within political parties, several important reforms have been introduced in the post 1965 era. The purpose of this paper is to carry out a systematic analysis of the drivers of the voting behavior of US representatives on immigration policy in the period 1970–2006, and in particular to assess the role of economic factors at the district level. Our findings suggest that representatives from more skilled labor abundant districts are more likely to support an open immigration policy towards the unskilled, whereas the opposite is true for representatives from more unskilled labor abundant districts. This evidence is robust to the introduction of an array of additional economic and non-economic characteristics of the districts, and suggests that a simple factor analysis model can go a long way in explaining voting on immigration policy.

Keywords: Immigration policy; Voting; Political economy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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Journal Article: What drives U.S. immigration policy? Evidence from congressional roll call votes (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: What Drives U.S. Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: What Drives U.S. Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: What drives US Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes (2010) Downloads
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