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Workers Without Borders: On Culture and The Politics of Migration

Listed author(s):
  • Jain, Sanjay

    (Cambridge)

  • Majumdar, Sumon

    (Queens University)

  • Mukand, Sharun W.

    (Warwick)

This paper examines the role of cultural factors in driving the politics, size and nature (tempo- rary versus permanent migration) of migration policy. We show that there exists a broad political failure that results in ine¢ ciently high barriers restricting the import of temporary foreign workers and also admitting an ine¢ ciently large number of permanent migrants. Strikingly, we show that countries that are poor at cultural assimilation are better positioned to take advantage of tempo- rary foreign worker programs than more culturally diverse and tolerant countries. Furthermore, relaxing restrictions in the mobility of migrant workers across employers has the potential to raise host country welfare even though it increases migrant wages and lowers individual rmspro ts. We also demonstrate the existence of multiple equilibria: some countries have mostly temporary migration programs and see a low degree of cultural assimilation by migrants, while other countries rely more on permanent migrants and see much more assimilation.

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/19.2010_mukand.pdf
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Paper provided by Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE) in its series CAGE Online Working Paper Series with number 19.

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Date of creation: 2010
Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:19
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Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/

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  1. Richard B. Freeman, 2006. "People Flows in Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 145-170, Spring.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
  3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-156, March.
  4. Epstein, Gil S. & Gang, Ira N., 2008. "Ethnicity, Assimilation and Harassment in the Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 3591, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  6. István Kónya, 2007. "Optimal Immigration and Cultural Assimilation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 367-391.
  7. Walmsley, Terrie L. & Winters, L. Alan, 2005. "Relaxing the Restrictions on the Temporary Movement of Natural Persons: A Simulation Analysis," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 20, pages 688-726.
  8. Jim Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman, 2004. "On The Political Economy Of Immigration And Income Redistribution," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1129-1168, November.
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