Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 339–373 | Cite as

Schooling and labor market effects of temporary authorization: evidence from DACA

  • Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes
  • Francisca Antman
Original Paper


This paper explores the labor market and schooling effects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, which provides work authorization to eligible immigrants along with a temporary reprieve from deportation. The analysis relies on a difference-in-differences approach which exploits the discontinuity in program rules to compare eligible individuals to ineligible, likely undocumented immigrants before and after the program went into effect. To address potential endogeneity concerns, we focus on youths that likely met DACA’s schooling requirement when the program was announced. We find that DACA reduced the probability of school enrollment of eligible higher-educated individuals, as well as some evidence that it increased the employment likelihood of men, in particular. Together, these findings suggest that a lack of authorization may lead individuals to enroll in school when working is not a viable option. Thus, once employment restrictions are relaxed and the opportunity costs of higher education rise, eligible individuals may reduce investments in schooling.


Undocumented immigrants Work authorization 

JEL classification

J15 J61 J2 J3 



We thank Kelly Bedard, Sarah Bohn, Brian Cadena, Seema Jayachandran, Terra McKinnish, Anita Alves Pena, Audrey Singer, Stephen J. Trejo, Klaus Zimmermann, three anonymous referees, seminar participants at the IZA Annual Migration Meeting, University of Southern California and Colegio de la Frontera, along with session participants at the annual meetings of the American Economic Association, Population Association of America and Western Economic Association International. Any errors are our own.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA

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