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Gihoon Hong and Soyoung Lee
''An empirical analysis of the role of immigrant networks on legalization in the United States''
( 2015, Vol. 35 No.4 )
This paper examines the importance of immigrant networks on the likelihood of obtaining a U.S. immigrant visa. In order to control for the endogeneity arising from the formation of migration networks, we exploit variation in historical settlement patterns of earlier immigrants. Using panel data from the Mexican Migration Project, we find that the size of immigrant network at the destination is strongly positively related to the propensity to apply for a U.S. visa. In addition, estimating a hazard model of visa approval reveals that the wait time for visa approval is inversely associated with the size of the visa applicant's migration network at the destination in the case of employment-based applications. The results indicate that in addition to improving its members' earning potentials directly in the labor market, migration networks confer non-pecuniary benefits attached to legal status.
Keywords: network effects, immigration, legalization
JEL: J2 - Demand and Supply of Labor: General
F2 - International Factor Movements and International Business: General
Manuscript Received : Oct 17 2014 Manuscript Accepted : Nov 20 2015

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