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Category Archive: Immigration

  1. Foreigners Are Our Friends | Econ Chronicles

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    Some people say technology is the driver of innovation, but society often takes great steps in prosperity by trading. Like technological shifts over history, trade is a powerful way of creating wealth for all parties. In one example, Professor of Economics Bryan Caplan imagines a machine that turned agricultural products directly into cars: it would disrupt the way we do business, but the US would be wealthier for it.

    If, however, that machine was nothing but a freighter that exchanges corn for cars with another nation, many people think this is unfair. Whether in dislike for foreign trade or worry about immigration, Prof. Caplan calls this “anti-foreign bias,” and points out that most economists don’t share these concerns. Professional economists think trade and immigration benefit all parties involved – just like innovative technology. As we said before: trade is made of win!

  2. How Much Immigration Is Too Much Immigration?

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    The United States has laws in place to limit the number of immigrants granted entry. How many immigrants should be allowed to call America home? Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University, argues that the United States should have open borders. Jan Ting, professor of law at Temple University, argues that there need to be limits on the number of immigrants.

    In this clip from the debate, Prof. Ting argues that the risks of trying an open border policy are too great. He points out that the U.S. population is estimated to grow at a fast rate in the next 50 years and through the end of the century if we do nothing. He is concerned that allowing free immigration will overwhelm U.S. infrastructure and cause too much environmental damage.

    Prof. Caplan responds by arguing that the market will ration immigration just as it rations anything else. Indeed, the idea of immigration without quotas is overwhelming if we do not consider how market forces will play a role. He argues that we can have open borders without fear because of the power of the market.

  3. Debate – What Would Happen if America Opened its Borders?

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    The United States has laws in place to limit the number of immigrants granted entry. How many immigrants should be allowed to call America home? Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University, argues that the United States should have open borders. Jan Ting, professor of law at Temple University, argues that there need to be limits on the number of immigrants.

    In this clip, Prof. Ting argues that open borders would result in an enormous increase in the number of immigrants to the United States. He points out that there are so many opportunities here that people would come in huge numbers from less developed countries. The strain on the United States infrastructure and environment could be enormous.

    In his response, Prof. Caplan argues that the fact people would want to come in such great numbers is, in his mind, an argument favoring open borders. People should be living in places where they can achieve their potential. For many people around the world, this means they need to move. Would this have effects on the U.S. economy? Absolutely. Prof. Caplan argues that in the short run, housing prices would probably increase, for example. In addition, we may see a move to having personal servants, as many of the low-skilled workers in the world have skill sets that fall below the lowest-skilled workers in the United States. To offset pressures on the environment, Prof. Caplan recommends increasing costs for pollution and other environmental hazards.
    What do you think? Do you think the fact that many people would want to immigrate to the United States is an argument in favor or against opening the borders?

  4. Debate – Who Is Harmed Most by Immigration?

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    The United States has laws in place to limit the number of immigrants granted entry. How many immigrants should be allowed to call America home? Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University, argues that the United States should have open borders. Jan Ting, professor of law at Temple University, argues that there need to be limits on the number of immigrants.

    Economically, native-born high school dropouts are the most likely to lose out from the competition from low-skilled workers that will increase if the United States has open borders. In this clip, Prof. Caplan argues that although these are the most vulnerable Americans, they are some of the wealthiest people in the world. Prof. Ting argues that part of being a country means having greater concern for your fellow citizens than for the world as a whole.

    Prof. Caplan argues that while it is fine to care about fellow Americans more than about the world as a whole, immigration laws are about saying we’re going to take care of Americans no matter what the cost we impose on other people.  Even when you care more about one person or group of people than others, it is still important to treat the others fairly. The clip also brings up interesting questions about how competition and trade affect individuals and society.

  5. Debate – What to Do about Immigration

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    The United States has laws in place to limit the number of immigrants granted entry. How many immigrants should be allowed to call America home? Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University, argues that the United States should have open borders. Jan Ting, professor of law at Temple University, argues that there need to be limits on the number of immigrants.

    Prof. Caplan argues that immigration laws deny basic human rights. All people deserve to have the opportunity for a better life and should not be penalized simply for being born on the wrong side of a border. The supposed negative effects of free immigration are greatly overstated at best and often opposite the truth. Open border policies are estimated to lead to a doubling of global productivity, too. Immigrants pay about as much in tax as they use in benefits. And, he argues, there are cheaper and more humane remedies for dealing with any costs of immigration than preventing people from entering the country.

    Prof. Ting argues that while he has deep respect for immigrants, there are valid reasons for not having completely open borders. He states that the United States has the most generous immigration policy in the world, and that limiting the number of immigrants allowed each year helps immigrants better assimilate. He expresses concern that open borders would create an influx of people too great for our infrastructure and that they may put undue pressure on the environment.

    Is immigration an issue of morality? Can it be reduced to a cost-benefit analysis? Does a cost-benefit analysis even suggest limitations? Watch the video and tell us what you think.

  6. Economics of Immigration: Myths and Realities

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    Prof. Ben Powell debunks the following three popular myths about immigration:

    1. Immigrants are a net drag on our economy
    2. Immigrants steal our jobs
    3. Immigrants depress our wages

    Additionally, Professor Ben Powell examines how immigration is related to foreign aid, prosperity, property rights, crime, welfare, voting, citizenship, and more.

    Credits: This lecture was delivered in 2009 at the Metropolitan State College of Denver School of Business, as part of the Exploring Economic Freedom Lecture Series, directed by Prof. Alexandre Padilla. This video was produced and directed by Scott Houck, and edited by Adrienne Christy. Video production provided by the Educational Technology Center at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Video used by LearnLiberty.org with permission.

  7. Immigration Debate: Economics of Immigration Boom or Bust

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    Prof. Ben Powell and Gov. Richard Lamm discuss the issues of immigration.  In their discussion, they cover population growth, prices of goods, displaced workers, depressed wages, job loss, implications for the welfare state, resource depletion, terrorism, and global warming.

    Credits: This lecture was delivered in 2009 at the Metropolitan State College of Denver School of Business, as part of the Exploring Economic Freedom Lecture Series, directed by Prof. Alexandre Padilla. This video was produced and directed by Scott Houck, and edited by Adrienne Christy. Video production provided by the Educational Technology Center at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Video used by LearnLiberty.org with permission.

  8. Top Three Myths about Immigration

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    Prof. Ben Powell explores the top three myths about immigration. After analyzing the data, he finds that immigrants in fact do not have negative effects on the economy, jobs, or wages.

  9. The Impact of Immigration on Jobs and Income

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    Is it true that immigration raises the U.S. unemployment rate? Is it true that immigration affects U.S. income distribution? The conventional wisdom says that both of these things are true. However, economist Antony Davies says there is evidence to suggest that they are not. Looking at the data, there is no relationship between the rate of immigration and the unemployment rate, nor is there a relationship between the rate of immigration and income inequality. Further, there is evidence to suggest that immigrants actually CREATE more American jobs.

    For more, visit Prof. Davies’s website at:
    http://www.antolin-davies.com/conventionalwisdom/h1bjobs.pdf