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A simple theory of the optimal number of immigrants

  • Chi-Chur Chao

    (Department of Economics - Chinese University of Hong Kong - chinese university of hong kong)

  • Bharat R. Hazari

    (Department of Economics and Finance - City University of Hong Kong - City University of Hong Kong)

  • Jean-Pierre Laffargue

    (CEPREMAP - Centre pour la recherche économique et ses applications - Centre pour la recherche économique et ses applications, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, UP1 - Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne - PRES HESAM)

This paper develops a simple model to explain two stylised facts about immigration. First, some countries have a low ratio of migrants in their population, while other wealthy countries have a high number of migrants. In fact such migrants are of the same order of magnitude as their domestic workforce. Secondly, migrants are often segregated in jobs. The domestic residents do not wish to be employed in these jobs due to their unattractive working conditions and payments. The model assumes that domestic residents are all identical in terms of their skills and wealth and furthermore that native and foreign workers have the same skills. However, foreign migrants cannot be excluded from the use of public services, the quality of which decreases due to congestion created or enhanced by migrants. On the basis of our model we show that the stylised facts are consistent with an optimal immigration policy, defined by domestic residents who have neither altruistic feelings nor ethnic prejudice toward foreign migrants.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00586821.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00586821
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  1. Malchow-Møller, Nikolaj & Roland Munch, Jakob & Schroll, Sanne & Rose Skaksen, Jan, 2006. "Attitudes Towards Immigration: Does Economic Self-Interest Matter?," Working Papers 11-2006, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
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