Saturday, September 12, 2015

Legal status and the criminal activity of immigrants

A paper by Giovanni Mastrobuoni and Paolo Pinotti∗

Abstract:  We exploit exogenous variation in legal status following the January 2007 European Union enlargement to estimate its effect on immigrant crime. We difference out unobserved time-varying factors by i) comparing recidivism rates of immigrants from the “new” and “candidate” member countries; and ii) using arrest data on foreign detainees released upon a mass clemency that occurred in Italy in August 2006. The timing of the two events allows us to setup a difference-in-differences strategy. Legal status leads to a 50 percent reduction in recidivism, and explains one-half to two-thirds of the observed differences in crime rates between legal and illegal immigrants. JEL: F22, K42, C41 Keywords: immigration, crime, legal status


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