DP11597 Clicking on Heaven's Door: The Effect of Immigrant Legalization on Crime

Author(s): Paolo Pinotti
Publication Date: November 2016
Keyword(s): crime, legal status, regression discontinuity design
JEL(s): J61, K37, K42
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11597

We estimate the effect of immigrant legalization on the crime rate of immigrants in Italy by exploiting an ideal regression discontinuity design: fixed quotas of residence permits are available each year, applications must be submitted electronically on specific ``Click Days'', and are processed on a first-come, first-served basis until the available quotas are exhausted. Matching data on applications with individual-level criminal records, we show that legalization reduces the crime rate of legalized immigrants by 0.6 percentage points on average, on a baseline crime rate of 1.1 percent.