Sunday, September 17, 2006

Immigration and Developing Countries

With Bobby picking up my slack and getting into some great election analysis, I can focus on other things. Like the Dixie Chicks. Or my favorite, poverty. In the Post today, Sebastian Mallaby (I know, I know) mentions something interesting about immigration and developing countries:
In " Let Their People Come ," a new book published by the Center for Global Development, Lant Pritchett reports that if rich countries permitted extra immigration equivalent to 3 percent of their labor force, the citizens of poor countries would gain about $300 billion a year. That's three times more than the direct gains from abolishing all remaining trade barriers, four times more than the foreign aid given by governments and 100 times more than the value of debt relief.
I have some issues with this being better than debt relief, but it's an important point. It's been well established that immigration has very small effects on American workers--and that's a barely significant, if at all, effect on those without high school diplomas. Worth thinking about some more.

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