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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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    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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