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Selective immigration policy in Australia, Canada, and the United States


  • Heather Antecol
  • Deborah A. Cobb-Clark
  • Stephen J. Trejo


We compare the selective immigration policies in Australia, Canada and the United States over the twentieth century and as they exist today. We then review existing information about the link between selective immigration policy and immigration outcomes in the three countries. The literature reviewed suggests that there does seem to be potential for selective immigration policy to affect immigrant outcomes by altering the skill levels of immigrants. Still, it is clear that other forces are at work as well. Historical accidents, social forces, and simple geography may all have a hand in shaping traditional migration patterns, while labor market conditions—in particular the relative return to skill—are likely to be as important as policy in producing migration incentives.

Suggested Citation

  • Heather Antecol & Deborah A. Cobb-Clark & Stephen J. Trejo, 2004. "Selective immigration policy in Australia, Canada, and the United States," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 47(1), pages 57-76.
  • Handle: RePEc:bxr:bxrceb:y:2004:v:47:i:1:p:45-56

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schmidt, Christoph M. & Haisken-DeNew, John P. & Bauer, Thomas K., 2004. "International Labor Migration, Economic Growth and Labor Markets - The Current State of Affairs," RWI Discussion Papers 20, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
    2. Winkelmann, Rainer, 2001. "Why Do Firms Recruit Internationally? Results from the IZA International Employer Survey 2000," IZA Discussion Papers 331, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Bauer, Thomas K. & Lofstrom, Magnus & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2000. "Immigration Policy, Assimilation of Immigrants and Natives' Sentiments towards Immigrants: Evidence from 12 OECD-Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Gil S. Epstein & Astrid Kunze & Melanie E. Ward, 2009. "High-Skilled Migration And The Exertion Of Effort By The Local Population," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 56(3), pages 332-352, July.
    5. Winkelmann, Rainer & Kunze, Astrid & Locher, Lilo & Ward-Warmedinger, Melanie E., 2001. "Report No. 4: Die Nachfrage nach internationalen hochqualifizierten Beschäftigten," IZA Research Reports 4, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas K. Bauer & Deborah A. Cobb‐Clark & Vincent A. Hildebrand & Mathias G. Sinning, 2011. "A Comparative Analysis Of The Nativity Wealth Gap," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(4), pages 989-1007, October.
    2. Richard G. Harris & Peter E. Robertson, 2007. "The Dynamic Effects of Skilled Labour Targeting in Immigration Programs," Discussion Papers 2007-21, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.

    More about this item


    skilled migration; immigration policy;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy


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