Illegal migration, enforcement, and minimum wage

Work, Earnings and Other Aspects of the Employment Relation

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1397-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-552-9

ISSN: 0147-9121

Publication date: 1 October 2008


This paper examines the connection between illegal migration, minimum wages, and enforcement policy. We first explore the employers’ decision regarding the employment of illegal migrants in the presence of an effective minimum wage. We show that the employers’ decision depends on the wage gap between those of the legal and illegal workers and on the penalty for employing illegal workers. We consider the effects a change in the minimum wage has on the employment of illegal immigrants and local workers. We conclude by considering the optimal migration policy taking into consideration social welfare issues.


Epstein, G. and Heizler (Cohen), O. (2008), "Illegal migration, enforcement, and minimum wage", Polachek, S. and Tatsiramos, K. (Ed.) Work, Earnings and Other Aspects of the Employment Relation (Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 197-224.

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