The Local Reaction to Unauthorized Mexican Migration to the US

U.S. Immigration

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Speaker: Ernesto Tiburcio (PhD candidate at Tufts University)

Title: The Local Reaction to Unauthorized Mexican Migration to the US

Abstract: We study the political impacts of unauthorized Mexican migration to the United States. Our  identification strategy relies on two shift-share instruments that combine variation in migration inflows and networks using data on more than 7 million likely unauthorized migrants who obtained consular IDs. We find evidence of conservative electoral and policy responses at the level of a US county. Unauthorized migration significantly increases the vote share of the Republican Party in federal elections and decreases total public expenditure. We also find that the allocation of public expenditure shifts away from education towards policing and the administration of justice. We identify evidence in favor of three interrelated mechanisms: economic grievance, reflected in formal job loss in “migrant-intensive” sectors and an associated increase in the number of poor people; out-migration, white flight, and population decline; and an increase in out-group negative bias, manifested in a reduction in moral universalism. Unauthorized migration inflows have no discernible impact on total employment, average wages, unemployment, or crime rates. We find some evidence to suggest the political and socioeconomic impacts of unauthorized migration are smaller in counties that have more progressive taxation or a more generous social safety net, suggesting that these policies can facilitate job switching and prevent a change in values.

View a recording of the seminar here. 

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