“Do Minimum Wages Help or Hurt Low-Skilled Immigrants?” (with Joseph J. Sabia) Industrial Relations 58(2): 275-314.

Working Papers

“E-Verify Mandates and Immigrant Health Insurance”

President Trump wants to deny entry to immigrants who cannot prove that they will obtain health insurance within their first 30 days in the US, citing concerns that immigrants are less likely to be insured and, consequently, increase costs for American citizens. At the same time, the administration is exploring policies likely to impede immigrants’ access to health insurance, such as mandating all employers use an electronic work eligibility verification system. In this paper, I show that state E-Verify mandates reduce the probability that likely-unauthorized immigrants have private health insurance by 2 percentage points. Meanwhile, naturalized citizens are shifted from public to private insurance, though only if they do not reside in a mixed-status household. However, imposing additional costs on unauthorized immigration may be seen as a feature and not a bug by those favoring more stringent immigration enforcement, regardless of who ultimately pays the bill.

“The Effect of E-Verify Laws on Crime” (with Andrew Dickinson, Taylor Mackay, and Joseph J. Sabia) IZA Discussion Paper No. 12798.

E-Verify laws, which have been adopted by 23 states, require employers to verify whether new employees are eligible to legally work prior to employment.  In the main, these laws are designed to reduce employment opportunities for unauthorized immigrants, reduce incentives for their immigration, and increase employment and earnings for low-skilled natives. This study examines whether the labor market effects of E-Verify laws generate important spillovers on crime.  Using agency-by-month data from the 2004 to 2015 National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), we find that the enactment of E-Verify is associated with a 5 to 10 percent reduction in property crimes involving Hispanic arrestees, an effect driven by universal E-Verify mandates that extend to private employers.  Supplemental analyses from the Current Population Survey (CPS) suggest that E-Verify-induced increases in employment of low-skilled natives of Hispanic descent and outmigration of younger Hispanics are important channels.  We find no evidence that crime was displaced to nearby jurisdictions without E-Verify or that violent crime was impacted by E-Verify mandates.  Moreover, neither arrests of white nor African American adults were affected by E-Verify laws.  The magnitudes of our estimates suggest that E-Verify laws generated $491 million in social benefits of reduced crime to the United States. 

Work in Progress

“Negative Social Comparisons and Health Behaviors: Evidence from Beauty Pageants” (with Christopher S. Carpenter).

“Driver’s Licenses, Unauthorized Immigrants, and Auto Insurance” (with Taylor Mackay and Bing Yang Tan).