Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 317–359

Should the US have locked heaven’s door?

Reassessing the benefits of postwar immigration
  • Xavier Chojnicki
  • Frédéric Docquier
  • Lionel Ragot
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-009-0286-z

Cite this article as:
Chojnicki, X., Docquier, F. & Ragot, L. J Popul Econ (2011) 24: 317. doi:10.1007/s00148-009-0286-z


This paper examines the economic impact of the second great immigration wave (1945–2000) on the US economy. Our analysis relies on a computable general equilibrium model combining the major interactions between immigrants and natives (labor market impact, fiscal impact, capital deepening, endogenous education, endogenous inequality). Contrary to recent studies, we show that immigration induced important net gains and small redistributive effects among natives. According to our simulations, the postwar US immigration is beneficial for all natives cohorts and all skill groups. Nevertheless, the gains would have been larger if the US had conducted a more selective immigration policy.


ImmigrationWelfareComputable general equilibrium

JEL Classification


Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xavier Chojnicki
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frédéric Docquier
    • 3
    • 4
  • Lionel Ragot
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.EQUIPPEUniversity of Lille 2LilleFrance
  2. 2.CEPIIParisFrance
  3. 3.FNRS, National Fund for Scientific ResearchBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.IRESCatholic University of LouvainLouvain-La-NeuveBelgium
  5. 5.EQUIPPE, Faculté des Sciences Économiques et SocialesUniversity of Lille 1Villeneuve d’Ascq CedexFrance
  6. 6.CESUniversity of Paris 1ParisFrance