Bryan Roberts

Institute for Defense Analyses
4850 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22311-1882

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Institute for Defense Analyses

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2018Deterring Illegal Entry: Migrant Sanctions and Recidivism in Border Apprehensions
with Samuel Bazzi, Sarah Burns, Gordon Hanson, John Whitley: w25100
Over 2008 to 2012, the U.S. Border Patrol enacted new sanctions on migrants apprehended attempting to enter the U.S. illegally. Using administrative records on apprehensions of Mexican nationals that include fingerprint-based IDs and other details, we detect if an apprehended migrant is subject to penalties and if he is later re-apprehended. Exploiting plausibly random variation in the roll-out of sanctions, we estimate econometrically that exposure to penalties reduced the 18-month re-apprehension rate for males by 4.6 to 6.1 percentage points off of a baseline rate of 24.2%. These magnitudes imply that sanctions can account for 28 to 44 percent of the observed decline in recidivism in apprehensions. Further results suggest that the drop in recidivism was associated with a reduction in at...

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