Immigration Restrictions as Active Labor Market Policy: Evidence from the Mexican Bracero Exclusion
Michael A. Clemens
Ethan G. Lewis
Hannah M. Postel
- American Economic Review (Forthcoming)
An important class of active labor market policy has received little
impact evaluation: immigration barriers intended to raise wages
and employment by shrinking labor supply. Theories of endogenous
technical advance raise the possibility of limited or even perverse
impact. We study a natural policy experiment: the exclusion of
almost half a million Mexican 'bracero' farm workers from the
United States to improve farm labor market conditions. With novel
archival data we measure state-level exposure to exclusion, and
model the labor-market effect in the absence of technical change.
We reject such an effect and fail to reject a null effect.
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