The Economics of Immigration

Estefanía Campos  | 03 de enero de 2018  | Vistas: 2341

Benjamin Powell talks about the possibility of a free system of no-quantitative restrictions on immigration and what are the benefits of acquiring this type of system.

While immigration has become a controversial topic, Powell explains that immigration is the standard case of free trade. It allows comparative advantage and division of labor. Allowing labors to move around the globe, it maximizes production in the wealth of overall.

Just allow 5% migration of world populations, would create more gains to the global economy than the complete elimination of our remain barriers to trade goods in services and capital”.

By eliminating quantitative barriers, not legal checkpoints, the global income can be doubled. When a person moves from Mexico to United States, without changing a thing about them, their incomes grows by a 150%; from Nigeria to United States, by a 1,000%. This is called by economists, The Place Premium, Powell explains. 

A lot of humanity is trapped in places with bad institutions, where they cannot make full use of the skills and talents they have if they were able to move to another location”.

Some of the prominent fears from the native inhabitants are that, immigrants could destroy the economy, steal their jobs and drop the wages.  Nevertheless, instead of substituting, they’re complements; because they have a different set of skills than the natives.

The economics of immigration makes the pie bigger.”

Finally, Powell asks what’s the optical immigration number?, and explains that nobody knows, since it’s a market process, where people should be allowed to move around, see what’s the cost of living and raise value by moving. Finally he says even low skill labors are valuable, as they free up the high skill labors and allows them to be more productive. It's a both-way beneficial.


Professor of economics and director, Free Market Institute