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Is There a Numbers versus Rights Trade-off in Immigration Policy? What the Data Say

  • Matthew Cummins
  • Francisco Rodriguez

This paper explores the empirical support behind the idea that there is a trade-off between the size of low-skilled migrant labor populations and the rights and entitlements accorded to them. We first look at the empirical correlation between measures of migrants' rights and the size of both the stock and flow of immigrants in a number of existing databases. Using data on migrants' rights from three recent studies—the Economist Intelligence Unit's Migrant Accessibility Index, the Migration Policy Group and British Council's Migrant Integration Policy Index, and the Human Development Report Office's Migrant Entitlements and Services Index—we fail to find a systematic correlation of any sign. We then turn to regression analysis using ordinary least squares and instrumental variable techniques, and again fail to find evidence in favor of the existence of a correlation. The numerical magnitudes of the correlations suggest a quantitatively small relationship that in several cases is positive rather than negative.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

Volume (Year): 11 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 281-303

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:11:y:2010:i:2:p:281-303
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  1. Michael Clemens & Claudio Montenegro & Lant Pritchett, 2008. "The Place Premium: Wage Differences for Identical Workers across the U.S. Border," Working Papers 148, Center for Global Development.
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