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The political economy of migration enforcement: domestic versus border control

Facchini, Giovanni; Testa, Cecilia

Authors

CECILIA TESTA Cecilia.Testa@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Political Economy



Abstract

We study migration policy enforcement by an elected government. The policy-maker faces uncertainty on the supply of migrants, but has more information than the public on its preferences and the extent and effectiveness of its enforcement activities. We show that a utilitarian government preferring more migrants than the majority may find it optimal to set a restrictive target to please the median voter, while relaxing its enforcement to admit more foreigners in a concealed way. Lax enforcement may be achieved either by deploy- ing inadequate resources on cost–effective activities (domestic enforcement) or by allocating a larger budget on less effective tools (border enforcement). The attractiveness of one in- strument over the other depends on the size of the immigrant flow: if the supply is large, border enforcement might be preferred because, although more costly, it brings the number of migrants closer to the utilitarian optimum. Hence, re–election concerns might provide a rationale for the widespread use of less a effective enforcement tool, such as border control.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 7, 2015
Journal CESifo Economic Studies
Print ISSN 1610-241X
Electronic ISSN 1612-7501
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 61
Issue 3-4
APA6 Citation Facchini, G., & Testa, C. (2015). The political economy of migration enforcement: domestic versus border control. CESifo Economic Studies, 61(3-4), doi:10.1093/cesifo/ifv005
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/cesifo/ifv005
Keywords illegal immigration, immigration policy
Publisher URL http://cesifo.oxfordjournals.org/content/61/3-4/701.full
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0
Additional Information This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in CESifo Economic Studies following peer review. The version of record Giovanni Facchini and Cecilia Testa
The Political Economy of Migration Enforcement: Domestic Versus Border Control
CESifo Economic Studies 2015 61: 701-721 is available online at: http://cesifo.oxfordjou...content/61/3-4/701.full

This article is part of the CEPR project ‘Temporary Migration, Integration and the role of Policies’ (TEMPO) funded by the NORFACE Research Programme: ‘Migration in Europe—Social, Economic, Cultural and Policy Dynamics’.

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0





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