Tuesday, June 24, 2008

At it Again

Professor Borjas took so much time off it I hardly noticed he was at his shut the door rants again. Citing a report from the British House of Lords, he sums it up as:
Let's see: (1) the net benefits from immigration to the pre-existing population are trivially small and (2) immigration redistributes wealth, and low-skill workers end up on the losing end.
So, let US see: (1) there ARE positive net BENEFITS to the pre-existing population on balance (Professor B. always likes to gloss over this fact or trivialize it); (2) the benefits to those who emigrate are NOT trivial they are positive, and; (3) natives in countries that send emigrants to other countries also benefit. No one denies certain distributional consequences, but the GLOBAL benefits from free migration. While those who lose in the US tend to be on the low-skill, low-wage end of the scale, please bear in mind that the ones benefitting from the other side of the border are from even more meager circumstances.

Maybe we should think of managing the distributional consequences in a more nuanced way instead of killing the golden goose (or shutting the "golden door").

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