Immigration Law as Development Policy: Mexican Guestworkers and the H-2A Visa Program

Last registered on May 23, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Immigration Law as Development Policy: Mexican Guestworkers and the H-2A Visa Program
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009475
Initial registration date
May 21, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 23, 2022, 5:21 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Stanford University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
Stanford University
PI Affiliation
J-PAL LAC

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2022-03-28
End date
2022-11-28
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Migration may be an important component of climate change adaptation, especially for residents of low-income countries. Individuals may migrate away as a coping mechanism in response to unforeseen and sudden environmental shocks, such as droughts, floods, or earthquakes. One key policy challenge is how to design migration options that will allow workers to access labor markets safely and legally. This project will study the poverty impact of providing rural Mexican workers living in highly climate-prone areas with a legal short-term seasonal work visa to live and work in the agricultural sector in the U.S. To that end, this RCT will evaluate the effect of the H-2A program on (1) guestworkers, (2) sending households, (3) agricultural workers in the U.S., and (4) broader communities in Mexico. We will track a sample of treated workers (those who receive an H-2A visa) as they move from Mexico to the U.S. and interview them in both Mexico and the U.S. We will also track a sample of control workers (those who do not receive an H-2A visa), interview them in Mexico, and follow up either in person in Mexico or remotely if they have relocated. We will collect respondent survey data on a series of outcomes relating to socioeconomic status, investment decisions, household consumption, migratory history, as well as experiences with climate change, crime/violence, and victimization.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Gomar, Daniel et al. 2022. "Immigration Law as Development Policy: Mexican Guestworkers and the H-2A Visa Program." AEA RCT Registry. May 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9475
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The aim of this project is to carry out the first scientific evaluation of the H-2A program, which permits U.S. farmers to hire foreign agricultural workers on a temporary or seasonal basis. We will randomize the allocation of H-2A visas to Mexican guestworkers from Michoacán, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala. Our treatment group will comprise of guestworkers who were randomly allocated a H-2A visa; our control group will consist of those who did not receive a visa to work in the U.S.
Intervention Start Date
2022-03-28
Intervention End Date
2022-11-28

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Socioeconomic status, investment decisions, household consumption, migratory history, experience with climate change, exposure to crime/violence, experience with victimization, experience with inadequate labor conditions in the U.S.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We will randomize H-2A visas to workers from Michoacán, Oaxaca, and Tlaxcala. For the pilot, we will work with a sample of 100 workers: 50 workers for our control group and 50 for our treatment group. Using recruitment data from our implementing partner in Mexico, we randomly assign 50 recruits into our treatment group. We proceed with a pseudo-control group whereby we first include unvaccinated workers who applied for a H-2A visa but remain ineligible to travel to the U.S. due to their vaccination status. We then randomly assigned workers into the remainder of our control group.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Individual.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
100 guestworkers.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50 guestworkers treatment, 50 guestworkers control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Research Compliance Office, Stanford University
IRB Approval Date
2021-02-09
IRB Approval Number
IRB-59508