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Optimal Migration: A World Perspective

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  • Jess Benhabib
  • Boyan Jovanovic

Abstract

We ask what level of migration would maximize world welfare. We find that skill-neutral policies are never optimal. An egalitarian welfare function induces a policy that entails moving mainly unskilled immigrants into the rich countries, whereas a welfare function skewed highly towards the rich countries induces an optimal policy that entails a brain-drain from the poor countries. For intermediate welfare functions that moderately favor the rich however, it is optimal to have no migration at all.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12871.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Publication status: published as Jess Benhabib & Boyan Jovanovic, 2012. "Optimal Migration: A World Perspective," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 321-348, 05.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12871

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  1. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
  2. James E. Rauch, 1991. "Productivity Gains From Geographic Concentration of human Capital: Evidence From the Cities," NBER Working Papers 3905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Enrico Moretti, 2002. "Estimating the Social Return to Higher Education: Evidence From Longitudinal and Repeated Cross-Sectional Data," NBER Working Papers 9108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really so Bad?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages F300-F323, November.
  5. Giovanni Peri & Susana Iranzo, 2006. "Schooling Externalities, Technology and Productivity:Theory and Evidence from U.S. States," Working Papers 635, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  6. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2006. "Rethinking the Effects of Immigration on Wages," NBER Working Papers 12497, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2006. "Identifying Human-Capital Externalities: Theory with Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(2), pages 381-412.
  9. Clark, Gregory, 1987. "Why Isn't the Whole World Developed? Lessons from the Cotton Mills," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 141-173, March.
  10. George J. Borjas & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 13-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lundborg, Per & Segerstrom, Paul S., 2002. "The growth and welfare effects of international mass migration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 177-204, January.
  12. Benhabib, Jess, 1996. "On the political economy of immigration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1737-1743, December.
  13. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1998. "Recent immigrants: Unexpected implications for crime and incarceration," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(4), pages 654-679, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Vianney Dequiedt & Yves Zenou, 2011. "International Migration, Imperfect Information and Brain Drain," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2011009, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  2. Susana Iranzo & Giovanni Peri, 2007. "Migration and Trade in a World of Technological Differences: Theory with an Application to Eastern-Western European Integration," NBER Working Papers 13631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Stark, Oded & Casarico, Alessandra & Devillanova, Carlo & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2011. "On the formation of international migration policies when no country has an exclusive policy-setting say," Discussion Papers 117431, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  4. Ozan Hatipoglu & Serhan Sadikoglu, 2013. "No Brain Gain without Brain Drain? Dynamics of Return Migration and Human Capital Formation under Asymmetric Information," Working Papers 2013/09, Bogazici University, Department of Economics.
  5. Frédéric DOCQUIER & Joël MACHADO & Khalid SEKKAT, 2012. "Efficiency gains from liberalizing labor mobility," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2012023, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  6. Gordon H. Hanson, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of the International Migration of Labor," NBER Working Papers 14490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Susana Iranzo & Giovanni Peri, 2009. "Migration and Trade: Theory with an Application to the Eastern-Western European Integration," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0905, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  8. Vendryes, Thomas, 2011. "Migration constraints and development: Hukou and capital accumulation in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 669-692.
  9. Amandine AUBRY & Michal BURZYŃSKI, 2013. "The Welfare Impact of Global Migration in the OECD Countries," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013035, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  10. Michele Battisti & Gabriel Felbermayr & Giovanni Peri & Panu Poutvaara, 2014. "Immigration, Search, and Redistribution: A Quantitative Assessment of Native Welfare," NBER Working Papers 20131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Djajić, Slobodan, 2013. "Barriers to immigration and the dynamics of emigration," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 41-52.
  12. Naiditch, Claire & Vranceanu, Radu, 2010. "Equilibrium migration with invested remittances: The EECA evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 454-474, December.

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