NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Deterring Illegal Entry: Migrant Sanctions and Recidivism in Border Apprehensions

Samuel Bazzi, Sarah Burns, Gordon Hanson, Bryan Roberts, John Whitley

NBER Working Paper No. 25100
Issued in September 2018, Revised in April 2019
NBER Program(s):Development Economics, International Trade and Investment, Labor Studies

Over 2008 to 2012, the U.S. Border Patrol enacted new sanctions on migrants apprehended attempting to enter the U.S. illegally. Using administrative records on apprehensions of Mexican nationals that include fingerprint-based IDs and other details, we detect if an apprehended migrant is subject to penalties and if he is later re-apprehended. Exploiting plausibly random variation in the roll-out of sanctions, we estimate econometrically that exposure to penalties reduced the 18-month re-apprehension rate for males by 4.6 to 6.1 percentage points off of a baseline rate of 24.2%. These magnitudes imply that sanctions can account for 28 to 44 percent of the observed decline in recidivism in apprehensions. Further results suggest that the drop in recidivism was associated with a reduction in attempted illegal entry.

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Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25100

 
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