nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2018‒10‒15
twenty-one papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. Ethnic Inequality and Forced Displacement By Tilman Brück; Moritz Hennicke; Antje Schumann
  2. The 2015 European Refugee Crisis and Residential Housing Rents in Germany By Kathleen Kürschner; Michael Kvasnicka
  3. Refugee immigrants, occupational sorting and wage gaps By Christopher F. Baum; Hans Lööf; Andreas Stephan
  4. Marriage, Work and Migration: The Role of Infrastructure Development and Gender Norms By Amrit Amirapu; M Niaz Asadullah; Zaki Wahhaj
  5. Vanished Classmates: The Effects of Local Immigration Enforcement on Student Enrollment By Thomas Dee; Mark Murphy
  6. Remittances and Emigration Intentions: Evidence from Armenia By Aleksandr Grigoryan; Knar Khachatryan
  7. Skill of the Immigrants and Vote of the Natives: Immigration and Nationalism in European Elections 2007-2016 By Simone Moriconi; Giovanni Peri; Riccardo Turati
  8. Migration, Political Institutions, and Social Networks By Batista, Catia; Seither, Julia; Vicente, Pedro C.
  9. Self-employed Immigrants and Their Employees: Evidence from Swedish Employer-Employee Data By Hammarstedt, Mats; Miao, Chizheng
  10. “The Impact of Immigration on Native Employment: Evidence from Italy” By Stefano Fusaro; Enrique López-Bazo
  11. The Economic Effect of Immigration Policies: Analyzing and Simulating the U.S. Case By Andri Chassamboulli; Giovanni Peri
  12. Natural hazards and internal migration: The role of transient versus permanent shocks By Pavel, Tanvir; Hasan, Syed; Halim, Nafisa; Mozumder, Pallab
  13. Economic impact of STEM immigrant workers By Baum, Christopher F.; Lööf, Hans; Stephan, Andreas
  14. Naturalization and Labor Market Performance of Immigrants in Germany By Riphahn, Regina T.; Saif, Salwan
  15. Immigrants, Labor Market Dynamics and Adjustment to Shocks in the Euro Area By Gaetano Basso; Francesco D'Amuri; Giovanni Peri
  16. Brain-Circulation Network: The Global Mobility of the Life Scientists By Luca Verginer; Massimo Riccaboni
  17. Employment effects of language training for unemployed immigrants By Lang, Julia
  18. Does Immigration Decrease Far-Fight Popularity? Evidence from Finnish Municipalities By Jakub Lonsky
  19. Skill, innovation and wage inequality: Can immigrants be the trump card? By Gouranga Gopal Das; Sugata Marjit
  20. Deterring Illegal Entry: Migrant Sanctions and Recidivism in Border Apprehensions By Samuel Bazzi; Sarah Burns; Gordon Hanson; Bryan Roberts; John Whitley
  21. H-2A Guest-workers Program: Adoption and Usage by Southeastern Growers By Simnitt, Skyler; Farnsworth, Derek; Onel, Gulcan; Roka, Fritz

  1. By: Tilman Brück; Moritz Hennicke; Antje Schumann
    Abstract: We study how inequality shapes victimization in ethnic conflicts. Our case study of a recent conflict in Kyrgyzstan documents how communities with large ethnic inequalities in education experienced intense displacement of their habitants. We first demonstrate that the correlation of ethnic inequalities and conflict intensity at the community level is robust against alternative drivers of conflict such as polarization or segregation. We then identify who precisely in the joint distribution of education and ethnicity is displaced by the conflict. Our findings suggest that horizontal andvertical inequality can drive victimisation in different ways for different people. For instance, socioeconomic advantage compared within ethnicity increased individual probabilities to be displaced, and decreased probabilities compared to the other ethnicity.
    Keywords: ethnic, inequality, forced displacement
    Date: 2018–10
  2. By: Kathleen Kürschner; Michael Kvasnicka
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact at county level of the mass arrival of refugees in 2015 on residential housing rents in Germany. Using unique and novel data for 2014 and 2015 on end of year (EoY) county-level refugee populations and their type of accommodation as well as on monthly individual offers of flats for rent from Germany’s leading online property broker, we find strong evidence for a negative effect of refugee immigration on rental prices for residential housing in Germany. An increase in the county-level EoY refugee share by one percentage point is associated with a lower average rental price of 0.57% in the period October to December 2015, and a lower average rental price of 0.97% in January to March 2016. Additional evidence suggests that this negative price effect may have been facilitated by increases in the share of refugees in decentralized accommodation. IV regressions that exploit for identification variation in intra-state distances between counties that house refugee reception centers and surrounding counties produce even stronger negative price effects. Our finding of a negative price effect is at odds with the majority of studies which have investigated the consequences of immigration for local property markets at the county or city level. These diverging results may reflect differences in natives’ perceptions of potential adverse externalities associated with refugee migration, differences of seemingly sufficient magnitude to successfully counteract and outweigh any positive demand-side driven stimulus of immigration for higher rental prices.
    Keywords: Germany; refugees; Rents
    JEL: R3
    Date: 2018–01–01
  3. By: Christopher F. Baum (Boston College; DIW Berlin; CESIS, KTH Royal Institute of Technology); Hans Lööf (CESIS, KTH Royal Institute of Technology); Andreas Stephan (Jönköping International Business School; DIW Berlin)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes wage income differences between native born workers and refugee immigrants in Sweden within occupations delineated in accordance with the augmented canonical model of occupational assignment. The identification strategy is based on a control group of matched native born persons with similar characteristics as the refugees and by using panel data methods capturing unobserved heterogeneity. The econometric results from a Swedish employer-employee panel data set document a narrowed wage gap over time, showing that the remaining difference can be explained to a large extent by the sorting into different types of occupations. Based on an Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition, we find a persistent wage gap in cognitive non-routine occupations but also, surprisingly, task categories where refugees have higher earning than natives.
    Keywords: refugee immigration, income gap, employer-employee data, Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition
    JEL: C23 F22 J24 J6 O15
    Date: 2018–10–10
  4. By: Amrit Amirapu; M Niaz Asadullah; Zaki Wahhaj
    Abstract: Traditional gender norms can restrict independent migration by women, thus preventing them from taking advantage of economic opportunities in urban non-agricultural industries. However, women may be able to circumvent such restrictions by using marriage to engage in long-distance migration - if they are wealthy enough to match with the desirable migrating grooms. Guided by a model in which women make marriage and migration decisions jointly, we hypothesize that marriage and labour markets will be inextricably linked by the possibility of marital migration. To test our hypotheses, we use the event of the construction of a major bridge in Bangladesh - which dramatically reduced travel time between the economically deprived north-western region and the industrial belt located around the capital city Dhaka - as a source of plausibly exogenous variation in migration costs. In accordance with our model's predictions, we find that the bridge construction induced marriage-related migration (not economic migration) among rural women, but only for those women coming from families above a poverty threshold.
    Keywords: migration; marriage markets; female labour force participation; gender norms
    JEL: J12 J16 J61 O18 R23
    Date: 2018–09
  5. By: Thomas Dee; Mark Murphy
    Abstract: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the federal law-enforcement agency with primary responsibility for enforcing immigration laws within the U.S. However, for over a decade, ICE has formed partnerships that also allow local police to enforce immigration law (i.e., identifying and arresting undocumented residents). Prior studies, using survey data with self-reported immigrant and citizenship status, provide mixed evidence on the demographic impact of these controversial partnerships. This study presents new evidence based on the public-school enrollment of Hispanic students. We find that local ICE partnerships reduce the number of Hispanic students by nearly 10 percent within 2 years. We estimate that the local ICE partnerships enacted before 2012 displaced over 300,000 Hispanic students. These effects appear to be concentrated among elementary-school students. We find no corresponding effects on the enrollment of non-Hispanic students. We also find no evidence that ICE partnerships reduced pupil-teacher ratios or the percent of students eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
    JEL: I2 J15
    Date: 2018–09
  6. By: Aleksandr Grigoryan; Knar Khachatryan
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the recent migration wave in Armenia, using household level representative data from 2011. We identify determinants of emigration intentions by estimating a bivariate probit model with endogenous remittances. The key finding is that remittances help potential migrants to ease the migration process, serving as a resource rather than as a contractual tool between migrants and non-migrants. Spatial factors dominate in the set of (community level) instruments driving remittances. When distinguishing the destination country for potential migrants, Post-Soviet versus Western countries (EU countries or USA), we find that the instruments identified for remittances are more relevant for individuals targeting the Post-Soviet area (mainly Russia). Nevertheless, remittances remain a significant resource for migrating to Western countries. In this case, we control for endogeneity of remittances using Lewbel’s (2012) methodology. Our findings suggest that the two pools of potential migrants differ crucially in the main set of skill characteristics: high-skilled potential migrants opt for Western countries (brain drain), while the low-skilled prefer Post-Soviet countries as a destination. In particular, English language knowledge and computer literacy increase the likelihood for migrating to Western countries, and individuals with those skills are less likely to migrate to Post-Soviet countries. Education is significant for the Post-Soviet model only, with a negative impact on migration intentions.
    Keywords: migration; remittances; intentions; development; households;
    JEL: F22 J11 O12
    Date: 2018–10
  7. By: Simone Moriconi; Giovanni Peri; Riccardo Turati
    Abstract: In this paper we document the impact of immigration at the regional level on Europeans’ political preferences as expressed by voting behavior in parliamentary or presidential elections between 2007 and 2016. We combine individual data on party voting with a classification of each party's political agenda on a scale of their "nationalistic" attitudes over 28 elections across 126 parties in 12 countries. To reduce immigrant selection and omitted variable bias, we use immigrant settlements in 2005 and the skill composition of recent immigrant flows as instruments. OLS and IV estimates show that larger inflows of highly educated immigrants were associated with a change in the vote of citizens away from nationalism. However the inflow of less educated immigrants was positively associated with a vote shift towards nationalist positions. These effects were stronger for non-tertiary educated voters and in response to non-European immigrants. We also show that they are consistent with the impact of immigration on individual political preferences, which we estimate using longitudinal data, and on opinions about immigrants. Conversely, immigration did not affect electoral turnout. Simulations based on the estimated coefficients show that immigration policies balancing the number of high-skilled and low-skilled immigrants from outside the EU would be associated with a shift in votes away from nationalist parties in almost all European regions.
    JEL: D72 I28 J61
    Date: 2018–09
  8. By: Batista, Catia (Universidade Nova de Lisboa); Seither, Julia (Universidade Nova de Lisboa); Vicente, Pedro C. (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
    Abstract: What is the role of international migrants and, specifically, migrant networks in shaping political attitudes and behavior in migrant sending countries? Our theoretical framework proposes that migration might change individual social identities and thus stimulate intrinsic motivation for political participation, while it may also improve knowledge about better quality political institutions. Hence, international migration might increase political awareness and participation both by migrants and by other individuals in their networks. To test this hypothesis, we use detailed data on different migrant networks (geographic, kinship, and chatting networks), as well as several different measures of political participation and electoral knowledge (self-reports, behavioral, and actual voting measures). These data were purposely collected around the time of the 2009 elections in Mozambique, a country with substantial emigration to neighboring countries – especially South Africa - and with one of the lowest political participation rates in the region. The empirical results show that the number of migrants an individual is in close contact with via regular chatting significantly increases political participation of residents in that village – more so than family links to migrants. Our findings are consistent with both improved knowledge about political processes and increased intrinsic motivation for political participation being transmitted through migrant networks. These results are robust to controlling for self-selection into migration as well as endogenous network formation. Our work is relevant for the many contexts of South-South migration where both countries of origin and destination are recent democracies. It shows that even in this context there may be domestic gains arising from international emigration.
    Keywords: international migration, social networks, political participation, information, diffusion of political norms, governance
    JEL: D72 D83 F22 O15
    Date: 2018–08
  9. By: Hammarstedt, Mats (Linnaeus University Centre for Discrimination and Integration Studies); Miao, Chizheng (Linnaeus University Centre for Discrimination and Integration Studies)
    Abstract: We present a study of immigrant self-employment in Sweden using the recent matched employer-employee data from 2014. We find large variations in self-employment rates among immigrant groups as well as between immigrants with different points for their time immigration to Sweden. High self-employment rates are found for male immigrants from the Middle East. Immigrants are less likely than natives to have employees in their firms but after controlling for firm characteristics we find that self-employed immigrants are more likely than self-employed natives to have employees. Especially non-European immigrants are more likely than natives to employ other immigrants, and even non-European and recently arrived immigrants, in their firms. Immigrants are more likely than natives to hire their spouses as employees. We conclude that self-employed immigrants play a role in the labour market integration of other immigrants. We also conclude that the family plays a central role for self-employment activities among immigrants and that more knowledge regarding the explanations behind the results is needed.
    Keywords: Self-employment; Immigrants; Employment; Employees; Sweden
    JEL: F22 J21 J61 L26
    Date: 2018–09–25
  10. By: Stefano Fusaro (Universitat de Barcelona & AQR-IREA.); Enrique López-Bazo (Universitat de Barcelona & AQR-IREA.)
    Abstract: Whether host countries economically benefit or not from immigration is a longstanding debate. In this paper, by taking advantage of the consistent variation of foreign-born workers' settlements across local labor market, we investigate the impact of immigration on native employment in Italy over the period 2009-2017. Both the country and the time span considered represent an interesting novelty that adds a further piece of evidence to the existing literature. Despite the fact that immigration has recently become a major issue, the studies on the impact of immigration into Italy are indeed relatively scarce. In addition, the peculiar institutional framework of Italy, that plays a crucial role in the extent to which local labor markets are able to absorb immigration-induced supply shocks, makes this analysis particularly relevant. Likewise, the period analyzed is of extreme interest since it is characterized by the combination of the economic downturn and by an unprecedented increase of the migratory in inflows. Overall, the results contradict the belief that immigrants \take away jobs from natives" and present a scenario in which foreign-born workers have an average negligible impact on native employment opportunities. Consistently with the canonical model of immigration however, when distinguishing the native population by education levels, the results indicate a positive impact on high-educated natives and a strong negative one on low-educated. Nevertheless, after controlling for immigrants’ “skill-downgrading” and for natives' over-education,the negative impact estimated for the latter experiences a consistent reduction.
    Keywords: Immigration; Employment; Local Labor Markets; Shift-Share;Bartik Instrument; Italian Provinces. JEL classification:J15; J61; R23.
    Date: 2018–09
  11. By: Andri Chassamboulli; Giovanni Peri
    Abstract: In this paper we analyze the economic effects of changing immigration policies in a realistic institutional set-up, using a search model calibrated to the migrant flows between the US and the rest of the world. We explicitly differentiate among the most relevant channels of entry of immigrants to the US: family-based, employment-based and undocumented. Moreover we explicitly account for earning incentives to migrate and for the role of immigrant networks in generating job-related and family-related immigration opportunities. Hence, we can analyze the effect of policy changes in each channel, accounting for the response of immigrants in general equilibrium. We find that all types of immigrants generate higher surplus for US firms relative to natives, hence restricting their entry has a depressing effect on job creation and, in turn, on native labor markets. We also show that substituting a family-based entry with an employment-based entry system, and maintaining the total inflow of immigrants unchanged, job creation and natives' income increase.
    JEL: E24 F22 J64
    Date: 2018–09
  12. By: Pavel, Tanvir; Hasan, Syed; Halim, Nafisa; Mozumder, Pallab
    Abstract: We analyse internal migration triggered by natural disasters in Bangladesh. We conducted a survey in nine coastal districts and two major cities in Bangladesh to investigate whether floods and cyclones, which can be considered as transient shocks, affect interregional migration differently compared to riverbank erosion that causes loss of lands and thus generates shocks that are permanent in nature. Our findings suggest that transient shocks induce households to move to nearby cities while permanent shocks push people to big cities with more opportunities. Comparing income and expenditure of migrants and non-migrant households, we find that the former group is better-off relative to their counterpart, indicating that welfare can be improved by facilitating migration. Rising exposure to climate change induced natural disasters around the world imply that our findings will be increasingly relevant for designing policies to address vulnerability, particularly for disaster prone countries with weak social safety nets.
    Keywords: Climate change,Natural disaster,Coastal area,Permanent shock,Transient shocks,Internal migration
    JEL: I38 Q54 Q56 R23
    Date: 2018
  13. By: Baum, Christopher F.; Lööf, Hans; Stephan, Andreas
    Abstract: STEM-focused industries are critical to the innovation-driven economy. As many firms are running short of STEM workers, international immigrants are increasingly recognized as a potential for high-tech job recruitment. This paper studies STEM occupations in Sweden 2011–2015 and tests hypotheses on new recruitment and the economic impact of foreign STEM workers. The empirical analysis shows that the probability that a new employee is a STEM immigrant increases with the share of STEM immigrants already employed, while the marginal effect on average firm wages is positively associated with the share of immigrant STEM workers. We also document heterogeneity in the results, suggesting that European migrants are more attractive for new recruitment, but non-EU migrants have the largest impact on wage determination.
    Keywords: STEM,migration,employment,wages,correlated random effects
    JEL: C23 J24 J61 O14 O15
    Date: 2018
  14. By: Riphahn, Regina T. (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg); Saif, Salwan (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)
    Abstract: Naturalization may be a relevant policy instrument affecting immigrant integration in host-country labor markets. We study the effect of naturalization on labor market outcomes of immigrants in Germany. We apply recent survey data and exploit a reform of naturalization rules in an instrumental variable estimation. In our sample of recent immigrants, linear regression yields positive correlations between naturalization and beneficial labor market outcomes. Once we account for the endogeneity of naturalization most coefficients decline in magnitude and lose statistical significance: male immigrants' labor market outcomes do not benefit significantly from naturalization. Naturalization reduces the risks of unemployment and welfare dependence for female immigrants. For males and females, the propensity to hold a permanent contract increase as a consequence of naturalization. The results are robust to modifications of samples and the instrument.
    Keywords: citizenship, migration, naturalization, labor market outcomes, instrumental variables
    JEL: J61 J15 C26
    Date: 2018–08
  15. By: Gaetano Basso; Francesco D'Amuri; Giovanni Peri
    Abstract: We analyze the role of labor mobility in cushioning labor demand shocks in the Euro Area. We find that foreign born workers’ mobility is strongly cyclical, while this is not the case for natives. Foreigners’ higher population to employment elasticity reduces the variation of overall employment rates over the business cycle: thanks to them, the impact of a one standard deviation change in employment on employment rates decreases by 6 per cent at the country level and by 7 per cent at the regional level. Additionally, we compare Euro Area mobility to that of another currency union, the US. We find that the population to employment elasticity estimated for foreign-born persons is similar in the Euro Area and the US, while EA natives are definitely less mobile across countries than US natives are across states in response to labor demand shocks. This last result confirms that in the Euro Area there is room for improving country specific shocks absorption through higher labor mobility. It also suggests that immigration helped labor market adjustments.
    JEL: E32 F22 J6
    Date: 2018–09
  16. By: Luca Verginer (IMT School for advanced studies); Massimo Riccaboni (IMT School for advanced studies)
    Abstract: Global mobility and migration of scientists is an important modern phenomenon with economic and political implications. As scientists become ever more footloose it is important to identify general patterns and regularities at a global scale. At the same time cities, and especially global cities, have become impor- tant loci of economic and scientific activity. Limiting research to international migration, would disregard the importance of local innovation systems. The analysis of the mobility and brain circulation patterns at global scale remains challenging, due to difficulties in obtaining individual level mobility data. In this work we propose a methodology to trace intercity and international mobility through bibliographic records. We reconstruct the intercity and international mobility network of 3.7 Million Life Scientists moving between 9,745 cities. We present several features of the extracted network, offer evidence that the international innovation system is marked by national borders and linguistic similarity and show that international mo- bility largely contributes to the scientific output of national research systems. Moreover we find evidence to suggest that global cities attract highly productive scientist early in their careers.
    Keywords: Network Analysis; Scientist Mobility; Brain Circulation; Global Cities; National Innovation Systems
    JEL: F22 J61 L65 O18 O15 O30 R12
    Date: 2018–10
  17. By: Lang, Julia (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])
    Abstract: "Proficiency in the host country's language is an important factor for a successful labor market integration of immigrants. In this study we analyze the effects of a language training program for professional purposes on the employment opportunities of the participants. We apply an instrumental variable approach and exploit differences in the local training intensities to deal with the problem of unobserved language skills in the data. Our results show that not taking into account endogeneity of language training leads to an underestimation of the effects. Bivariate probit estimates show that language training increases the employment probability of individuals with migration background who participated in 2014 by approximately seven percentage points two years after program start." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    JEL: C26 J24 J61 J68
    Date: 2018–10–08
  18. By: Jakub Lonsky
    Abstract: Across Europe, far-right parties have made signi ficant electoral gains in recent years, posing aserious threat to the European integration process. Their anti-immigration stance is consideredone of the main factors behind their success. Yet, the causal evidence on how immigrationaffects far-right voting is still relatively scarce. Using data from Finland, this paper studiesthe effect of immigration on voting for the far-right Finns Party on a local level. Exploiting aconvenient setup for a shift-share instrument, I find that one percentage point increase in theshare of foreign citizens in municipality decreases Finns Party's vote share by 3.4 percentagepoints. A placebo test using pre-period data confi rms this effect is not driven by persistenttrends at the municipality level. The far-right votes lost to immigration are captured by the twopro-immigration parties. In addition, immigration is found to increase voter turnout while theprotest vote remains unaffected. Turning to potential mechanisms, the negative effect is onlypresent in municipalities with high initial exposure to immigrants. Moreover, I provide someevidence for welfare-state channel as a plausible mechanism behind the main result.
    Date: 2018–01
  19. By: Gouranga Gopal Das; Sugata Marjit
    Abstract: With the ensuing immigration reform in the US, the paper shows that targeted skilled immigration into the R&D sector that helps low-skilled labor is conducive for controlling inequality and raising wage. Skilled talent-led innovation could have spillover benefits for the unskilled sector while immigration into the production sector will always reduce wage, aggravating wage inequality. In essence, we infer: (i) if R&D inputs contributes only to skilled sector, wage inequality increases in general; (ii) for wage gap to decrease, R&D sector must produce inputs that goes into unskilled manufacturing sector; (iii) even with two types of specific R&D inputs entering into the skilled and unskilled sectors separately, unskilled labor is not always benefited by high skilled migrants into R&D-sector. Rather, it depends on the importance of migrants’ skill in R&D activities and intensity of inputs. Inclusive immigration policy requires inter-sectoral diffusion of ideas embedded in talented immigrants targeted for innovation.
    Keywords: H1B, Immigration, Innovation, Wage gap, Skill, R&D, Policy, RAISE Act.
    Date: 2018
  20. By: Samuel Bazzi; Sarah Burns; Gordon Hanson; Bryan Roberts; John Whitley
    Abstract: In this paper, we use administrative records from the U.S. Border Patrol to examine how penalizing illegal border crossing affects recidivism in the apprehension of undocumented migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Over 2008 to 2012, the Border Patrol rolled out a Consequence Delivery System, which increased the fraction of apprehended border crossers subject to administrative or criminal sanctions from 15% to 85% percent. By matching fingerprints across apprehension records, we detect if a migrant apprehended by the Border Patrol is subject to penalties and if he is re-apprehended at a later date. Exploiting day-to-day variation in the capacity of the Border Patrol to levy sanctions during the rollout phase, we estimate strong effects of penalties on the likelihood that an apprehended migrant re-attempts illegal entry and is recaptured. Exposure to (milder) administrative penalties reduces the 3-month and 18-month re-apprehension rates for male Mexican nationals by 6.6 and 4.6 percentage points, off of baseline rates of 22.6% and 24.2%; exposure to the full set of penalties reduces these re-apprehension rates by 8.1 and 6.1 percentage points. The estimated magnitudes imply that the rollout of the CDS can account for 28 to 44 percent of the reduction in re-apprehension rates over 2008 to 2012. Further results suggest that our estimated impacts of sanctions on recidivism in apprehensions may understate the impact of sanctions on recidivism in attempted illegal entry.
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2018–09
  21. By: Simnitt, Skyler; Farnsworth, Derek; Onel, Gulcan; Roka, Fritz
    Abstract: With declining rates of migration from Mexico and a dwindling supply of willing domestic workers, specialty crop producers in the southeastern United States increasingly turn to the H-2A, temporary agricultural workers program, to meet their labor demands. Despite the program’s growing popularity, there do not exist any quantitative studies examining the factors that contribute to widely different participation rates by geography. This research examines Southeast growers’ participation rates in the H-2A program with respect to relevant social and economic factors at the county, state, and national level. Our primary research goal is to model the firm level decision to use the H-2A visa program, and determine the presence and magnitude of contagion effects in the decision process. We use a spatial-autoregressive method to model growers’ usage rates, and detect spatial-correlation between individuals and neighbors’ usage levels. Furthermore, we model producers’ adoption decision with a hazard model, wherein we regress growers’ decision to participate on neighbors’ adoption rate in preceding years, along with other relevant factors. Our main findings corroborate the influence of contagion effects on grower’s decision to use the H-2A program. More specifically we find that a growers’ odds of adopting the program increase significantly given higher participation rates among his or her neighbors. Our findings are pertinent to policy makers who seek to expand usage of the H-2A and other guest-worker programs, and our methods can be adapted to use in other policy and program related contexts.
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Farm Management, Labor and Human Capital
    Date: 2018–01–16

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