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Diversity and Immigration

In: Issues in the Economics of Immigration

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  • Edward P. Lazear

Abstract

One of the economic benefits of immigration is that the diversity of the population is enhanced. Diversity, it is argued, enriches the environment in which individuals live and trade and may contribute to greater creativity. What does diversity mean? Do current immigration policies enhance diversity? To the extent that there are gains from diversity, they come through the interaction of individuals from one culture or background with individuals from another. A good partner in the interaction has different skills, has skills that are relevant to one's own activity, and is a person with whom one can communicate. The argument in favor of diversity is evaluated both theoretically and empirically using the 1990 Census. Diversity cannot be the justification of U.S. immigration policy. Indeed, current immigration policy fails to promote diversity. Further, the results suggest that our immigration policy has resulted in differences in the characteristics of immigrants that reflect the effects of selection as much as they do the underlying characteristics of the populations from which the immigrants are drawn. Balanced immigration, perhaps implemented through the sale of immigration slots, would do more to enrich the diversity of the US population.

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This chapter was published in:

  • George J. Borjas, 2000. "Issues in the Economics of Immigration," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number borj00-1, October.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 6054.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6054

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. David Card, 1989. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 3069, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1989. "Labor Market Adjustments to Increased Immigration," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 55, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    3. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
    4. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Timothy J. Hatton & Andrew Leigh, 2007. "Immigrants Assimilate as Communities, not just as Individuals," CEPR Discussion Papers 547, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    2. Annekatrin Niebuhr, 2010. "Migration and innovation: Does cultural diversity matter for regional R&D activity?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(3), pages 563-585, 08.
    3. Xavier Chojnicki & Ainura Uzagalieva, 2008. "Labor Migration from East to West in the Context of European Integration and Changing Socio-political Borders," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0366, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
    4. Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2010. "Understanding the Impact of Immigration on Crime," MPRA Paper 22864, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Francesca Mazzolari & David Neumark, 2009. "Immigration and Product Diversity," NBER Working Papers 14900, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Maestri, Virginia, 2009. "Can ethnic diversity have a positive effect on school achievement?," MPRA Paper 31547, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Apr 2011.
    7. Virginia Maestri, 2011. "WP 108 - A deeper insight into the ethnic make-up of school cohorts. Diversity and school achievement," AIAS Working Papers wp108, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    8. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2001. "Public Education and the Melting Pot," CEPR Discussion Papers 2924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2005. "The melting pot and school choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 871-896, June.
    10. Hendrik P. van Dalen, 2003. "Pluralism in Economics: A Public Good or a Public Bad?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-034/1, Tinbergen Institute, revised 18 May 2004.
    11. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2004. "Selection Policy and the Labour Market Outcomes of New Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 1380, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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