Public Choice

, Volume 163, Issue 3–4, pp 321–335 | Cite as

Does immigration impact institutions?

  • J. R. Clark
  • Robert Lawson
  • Alex Nowrasteh
  • Benjamin PowellEmail author
  • Ryan Murphy


The economics literature generally finds a positive, but small, gain in income to native-born populations from immigrants and potentially large gains in world incomes. But immigrants can also impact a recipient nation’s institutions. A growing empirical literature supports the importance of strong private property rights, a rule of law, and an environment of economic freedom for promoting long-run prosperity. But little is known about how immigration impacts these institutions. This paper empirically examines how immigration impacts a nation’s policies and institutions. We find no evidence of negative and some evidence of positive impacts in institutional quality as a result of immigration.


Economic freedom Immigration Institutions 

JEL Classification

J1 J6 P1 



We thank the participants at the Association of Private Enterprise Education’s 2014 annual conference, the participants at Texas Tech’s Free Market Institute’s Research Workshop, and an anonymous referee for helpful comments on prior drafts. Support from the John Templeton Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. R. Clark
    • 1
  • Robert Lawson
    • 2
  • Alex Nowrasteh
    • 3
  • Benjamin Powell
    • 4
    Email author
  • Ryan Murphy
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Tennessee at ChattanoogaChattanoogaUSA
  2. 2.Southern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA
  3. 3.Cato InstituteWashington, D.C.USA
  4. 4.Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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