The economics of immigration: An Austrian contribution

Abstract

Any managed migration system will fail to achieve the optimal quantity or mix of immigrants because centrally planning the international labor market suffers from the same epistemic problems that make it impossible to optimally plan any market. In response to the artificial relative price structure, imposed by managed migration systems, the domestic stock of human and physical capital becomes distorted. Managed migration systems also set in motion the dynamics of intervention that lead to further interventions into the economy.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Esipova, Neil, and Julie Ray. March 9, 2012. “More Adults Would Move for Temporary Work Than Permanently.” Gallup World. http://www.gallup.com/poll/153182/Adults-Move-Temporary-Work-Permanently.aspx

  2. 2.

    Phillip Connor, D’Vera Cohn and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera. December 17, 2013. “Changing Patterns of Global Migration and Remittances.” Pew Research Center, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2013/12/global-migration-final_12-2013.pdf, p.4

  3. 3.

    Clifton, John. March 21, 2013. “More Than 100 Million Worldwide Dream of a Life in the U.S.” Gallup World. http://www.gallup.com/poll/161435/100-million-worldwide-dream-life.aspx

  4. 4.

    Statistics in the this paragraph can be found at: http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/docs/how_us_immig_system_works.pdf

  5. 5.

    http://www.colorlines.com/content/how-long-do-immigrant-families-wait-line-sometimes-decades or http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2012/01/04/wait-times-for-u-s-family-reunification-visas/

  6. 6.

    As Borjas himself recognizes, it largely accomplishes the goal of a more skilled population of immigrants by changing the country of origin of the immigrants rather than changing the skill set of people who migrate from a given country.

  7. 7.

    See Leeson and Gochenour (2015) for a survey of this debate.

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Acknowledgments

I thank Adam Martin, Alex Salter, and the students in my Ph.D. Austrian Economics class for helpful comments on an earlier version of this address.

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Correspondence to Benjamin Powell.

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2015 presidential address, society for the development of Austrian economics

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Powell, B. The economics of immigration: An Austrian contribution. Rev Austrian Econ 29, 343–349 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11138-015-0336-6

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Keywords

  • Immigration
  • Economic calculation
  • Heterogeneous capital
  • Human capital

JEL Classification

  • F22
  • F55
  • J61
  • J68