Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Walters, Lurleen M.

Committee Member

Williams, Brian

Committee Member

Harri, Ardian

Committee Member

Medina, Dominga Elizabeth Canales

Committee Member

Orozco-Aleman, Sandra L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Agriculture (Agricultural Economics)

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Agricultural Economics


Labor intensive sectors such as the specialty crop sector have historically had strong reliance on foreign labor, constituting roughly oneifth of all U.S. farms while incurring roughly two-thirds of direct-hire expenses. It is estimated that more than half unauthorized of the foreign-born labor force in the specialty crop sector are unauthorized for US employment. Using data from the National Agricultural Workers Survey for 1989-2014, this study uses a treatment effects approach (via propensity score matching and minimum-biased estimation) to evaluate the farm wage implications of legalization of foreign-born specialty crop farm workers nationally, as well as specifically in California. Positive wage effects are estimated in nationally and in California, with higher magnitude effects observed in California.