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Mexico–U.S. Immigration: Effects of Wages and Border Enforcement

Rebecca Lessem

Review of Economic Studies, 2018, vol. 85, issue 4, 2353-2388

Abstract: In this article, I study how relative wages and border enforcement affect immigration from Mexico to the U.S. To do this, I develop a discrete choice dynamic programming model where people choose from a set of locations in both the U.S. and Mexico, while accounting for the location of one’s spouse when making decisions. I estimate the model using data on individual immigration decisions from the Mexican Migration Project. Counterfactuals show that a 10% increase in Mexican wages reduces migration rates and durations, overall decreasing the number of years spent in the U.S. by about 5%. A 50% increase in enforcement reduces migration rates and increases durations of stay in the U.S., and the overall effect is a 7% decrease in the number of years spent in the U.S.

Keywords: Immigration; Dynamics; Policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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