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Sustaining Fiscal Policy Through Immigration

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  • Kjetil Storesletten

    () (Stockholm University, Sweden., Institute for International Economic Studies)

Abstract

This paper explores the fiscal implications of immigration to the US and argues that immigration policy should be viewed as a vital part of fiscal policy. In particular a case is made that skills and age at the time of arrival are of great importance for the cost-benefit calculation of new immigrants. Using a calibrated general equilibrium overlapping generations model, which explicitly accounts for key differences between immigrants and natives, Social Security and the demographic transition, I investigate if an immigration policy reform alone could resolve the fiscal problems associated with the ageing of the baby boom generation I find that such policies exist and are characterized by increased inflows of working-age high and medium skilled immigrants. One particular feasible policy involves admitting 1.6 million 40-44 year-old high skilled immigrants annually compared to a total of 1.1 million today. In contrast an income tax hike of 4.4% points would be required if future fiscal problems were to be solved by a once and for all tax reform. To further illuminate the fiscal impact of immigration I compute the net government gain in present value terms of admitting one additional immigrant. This figure varies considerably with age and skills and reaches a maximum of seven times GNP per capita for high skilled 40-44 year-old immigrants. In contrast new immigrants represent on average a small net gain of $7,400 or 0.3 times GNP per capita.
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Suggested Citation

  • Kjetil Storesletten, "undated". "Sustaining Fiscal Policy Through Immigration," Homapage Papers _005, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:stocis:_005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1996. "Life-Cycle Economies and Aggregate Fluctuations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 465-489.
    2. Rachel M. Friedberg & Jennifer Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 23-44, Spring.
    3. Michael Baker & Dwayne Benjamin, 1995. "The Receipt of Transfer Payments by Immigrants to Canada," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 650-676.
    4. George J. Borjas & Lynette Hilton, 1996. "Immigration and the Welfare State: Immigrant Participation in Means-Tested Entitlement Programs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 575-604.
    5. George J. Borjas, 1994. "The Economics of Immigration," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1667-1717, December.
    6. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Robert Hagemann & Giuseppe Nicoletti, 1989. "The Dynamics of an Aging Population: The Case of Four OECD Countries," NBER Working Papers 2797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Borjas, George J & Bratsberg, Bernt, 1996. "Who Leaves? The Outmigration of the Foreign-Born," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-176, February.
    8. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    9. Holger Bonin & Bernd Raffelhüschen & Jan Walliser, 2000. "Can Immigration Alleviate the Demographic Burden?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(1), pages 1-1, September.
    10. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
    11. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Robert P. Hagemann & Giuseppe Nicoletti, 1989. "The Economic Dynamics of an Ageing Population: The Case of Four OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 62, OECD Publishing.
    12. Ather H. Akbari, 1989. "The Benefits of Immigrants to Canada: Evidence on Tax and Public Services," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 15(4), pages 424-435, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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