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Key Findings Details

Effects of Legal and Unauthorized Immigration on the U.S. Social Security System
Hugo A. Benítez-Silva, Eva Carceles-Poveda and Selcuk Eren
WP 2011-250

  • We analyze the differential effects on the economy of legal and unauthorized immigration on the social insurance system in the United States.
  • We present a General Equilibrium model of the key decisions of immigrants to calculate the contribution to economic growth of legal and undocumented immigrants (through savings and labor productivity) versus the costs they subject the system to through the usage of social insurance programs.
  • We find significant positive effects of legalization on capital stock, output, consumption levels, labor productivity, and the overall welfare of individuals. While the overall effects are small in percentage terms, given the size of our economy, the level effects are considerable.