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Diversity and Immigration

In: Issues in the Economics of 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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Suggested Citation

  • Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Diversity and Immigration," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 117-142 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6054
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George J. Borjas, 1995. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
    2. David Card, 1990. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 95-126, December.
    5. Martin L. Weitzman, 1992. "On Diversity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 363-405.
    6. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
    7. Weitzman, M.L., 1992. "Diversity Functions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1610, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Annekatrin Niebuhr, 2010. "Migration and innovation: Does cultural diversity matter for regional R&D activity?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(3), pages 563-585, August.
    2. 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.
    3. Deborah A. Cobb-Clark, 2006. "Selection Policy and the Labour Market Outcomes of New Immigrants," Chapters,in: Public Policy and Immigrant Settlement, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Timothy Hatton & Andrew Leigh, 2011. "Immigrants assimilate as communities, not just as individuals," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(2), pages 389-419, April.
    5. Virginia Maestri, 2017. "Can ethnic diversity have a positive effect on school achievement?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 290-303, May.
    6. repec:aia:aiaswp:wp108 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Luca Marchiori & Patrice Pieretti & Benteng Zou, 2014. "Immigration, occupational choice and public employment," CREA Discussion Paper Series 14-15, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    8. Max Nathan & Neil Lee, 2013. "Cultural Diversity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Firm-level Evidence from London," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 89(4), pages 367-394, October.
    9. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2005. "The melting pot and school choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 871-896, June.
    10. Jörg L. Spenkuch, 2014. "Understanding the Impact of Immigration on Crime," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 177-219.
    11. Nathan, Max, 2011. "The economics of super-diversity: findings from British cities, 2001-2006," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33578, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2001. "Public Education and the Melting Pot," CEPR Discussion Papers 2924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Francesca Mazzolari & David Neumark, 2012. "Immigration and product diversity," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(3), pages 1107-1137, July.

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