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Diversity and 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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6535.

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Date of creation: Apr 1998
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Publication status: published as Edward P. Lazear. "Diversity and Immigration," in George J. Borjas, editor, "Issues in the Economics of Immigration" University of Chicago Press (2000)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6535

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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, 1991. "Labor Market Adjustments to Increased Immigration," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market, pages 167-199 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S95-S126, December.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Niebuhr, Annekatrin, 2006. "Migration and innovation: Does cultural diversity matter for regional R&D activity?," IAB Discussion Paper 200614, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  3. Hatton, Timothy J. & Leigh, Andrew, 2007. "Immigrants Assimilate as Communities, Not Just as Individuals," IZA Discussion Papers 2538, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2005. "The melting pot and school choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 871-896, June.
  5. Francesca Mazzolari & David Neumark, 2012. "Immigration and product diversity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 1107-1137, July.
  6. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2001. "Public Education and the Melting Pot," CEPR Discussion Papers 2924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2010. "Understanding the Impact of Immigration on Crime," MPRA Paper 22864, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Maestri, Virginia, 2009. "Can ethnic diversity have a positive effect on school achievement?," MPRA Paper 31547, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Apr 2011.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  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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