The Immigration Policy Puzzle
AbstractThis paper revisits the puzzle of immigration policy: standard economic theory predicts that free immigration improves natives' welfare, but (with few historical exceptions) an open door policy is never implemented in practice. What rationalizes the puzzle? We first review the model of immigration policy where the policy maker maximizes national income of natives net of the tax burden of immigration (Borjas, 1995). We show that this model fails to provide realistic policy outcomes when the receiving region's technology is described by a standard Cobb-Douglas or CES function, as the optimal policy imposes a complete ban on immigration or implies an unrealistically large number of immigrants relative to natives. Then the paper describes three extensions of this basic model that reconcile the theory with the evidence. The first introduces a cost of integration of the immigrant community in the destination country; the second takes into account the policy maker's redistributive concern across different social groups; the last extension considers positive spillover effects of (skilled) migrants on the receiving economy.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli in its series Working Papers CELEG with number 0905.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Costs and benefits from immigration; immigration policy.;
Other versions of this item:
- F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
- J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
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