In this study we evaluate the long-term impact of having access to regular employment on immigrants’ integration. Our empirical strategy relies on a natural experiment: D.L. 195/2002, the most relevant amnesty occurred in the last 20 years in Italy, which introduced the opportunity for employers to regularize undocumented immigrant workers. The analysis is based on data from ISTAT survey on Social Condition and Integration of Foreign Citizens, which took place in 2011-2012. We focus on cohorts people from non-EU countries arrived in Italy in the years around the reform eligibility threshold (2002). At a first stage we estimate the impact of the reform on the probability of being employed with a regular contract one year after the arrival, finding a significant positive impact. At a second stage, we use eligibility as an instrumental variable to estimate the impact of regular employment on a series of integration outcomes measured at the time of the survey (on average ten years after), including employment itself, daily life and opinions. The first, expected result is that former regular employment increases the chances of being employed, and employed with open ended contracts, in the future. Second, we estimate a significant change in some integration proxies concerning daily life and behavior outcomes (such as speaking Italian with friends, obtaining a driving license, regular use of internet).
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