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Author:Brown, J. David 

Working Paper
Does employing undocumented workers give firms a competitive advantage?
Using administrative data from the state of Georgia, this paper finds that on average, among all firms, employing undocumented workers reduces a firm's hazard of exit by 19 percent. However, the impact varies greatly across sectors. In addition, a firm is at a distinct disadvantage if it does not employ undocumented workers but its rivals do. The advantage to employing undocumented workers increases as more firms in the industry do so. In addition, the advantage to a firm from employing undocumented workers decreases with the skill level of the firm's workers, increases with the breadth of a firm's market, and increases with the labor intensity of the firm's production process.
AUTHORS: Brown, J. David; Hotchkiss, Julie L.; Quispe-Agnoli, Myriam
DATE: 2012

Working Paper
Undocumented worker employment and firm survivability
Do firms employing undocumented workers have a competitive advantage? Using administrative data from the state of Georgia, this paper investigates the incidence of undocumented worker employment across firms and how it affects firm survival. Firms are found to engage in herding behavior, being more likely to employ undocumented workers if competitors do. Rivals' undocumented employment harms firms' ability to survive while firms' own undocumented employment strongly enhances their survival prospects. This finding suggests that firms enjoy cost savings from employing lower-paid undocumented at workers wages less than their marginal revenue product. The herding behavior and competitive effects are found to be much weaker in geographically broad product markets, where firms have the option to shift labor-intensive production out of state or abroad.
AUTHORS: Brown, J. David; Hotchkiss, Julie L.; Quispe-Agnoli, Myriam
DATE: 2008

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