The progressive case for immigration: Whatever politicians say, the world needs more immigration, not less

Article in The Economist
27 March, 2017

I had missed this excellent piece which makes the economic case for increasing immigration at a global level.

“Defenders of immigration often fight on nativist turf, citing data to respond to claims about migrants’ damaging effects on wages or public services. Those data are indeed on migrants’ side. Though some research suggests that native workers with skill levels similar to those of arriving migrants take a hit to their wages because of increased migration, most analyses find that they are not harmed, and that many eventually earn more as competition nudges them to specialise in more demanding occupations. But as a slogan, “The data say you’re wrong” lacks punch. More important, this narrow focus misses immigration’s biggest effects.

Yet even this argument tiptoes around the most profound case for immigration. Among economists, there is near-universal acceptance that immigration generates huge benefits. Inconveniently, from a rhetorical perspective, most go to the migrants themselves. Workers who migrate from poor countries to rich ones typically earn vastly more than they could have in their country of origin. In a paper published in 2009, economists estimated the “place premium” a foreign worker could earn in America relative to the income of an identical worker in his native country. The figures are eye-popping. A Mexican worker can expect to earn more than 2.5 times her Mexican wage, in PPP-adjusted dollars, in America. The multiple for Haitian workers is over 10; for Yemenis it is 15 (see chart).

To read the full article, please click here.

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