The Effect of Undocumented Labor on Society: Evidence from the E-Verify Program

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


How should a country respond to a significant flow of low-skilled, immigrant workers? We consider the influence of a large, U.S. program intended to blunt demand for the labor of undocumented immigrants. The federal government developed E-Verify, which allows employers to screen potential hires, identifying workers who are unauthorized to work in the U.S. Several states have mandated that employers in their jurisdiction use E-Verify for all new employees. We will exploit the staggered implementation of the mandates across states to causally estimate the impact of undocumented-worker bans on several policy-relevant outcomes. In addition to studying the effect on traditional labor outcomes like employment and earnings, we evaluate the influence of E-Verify on firm productivity, political turnout, and government spending.