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The new economic case for migration restrictions: An assessment

Michael Clemens and Lant Pritchett

Journal of Development Economics, 2019, vol. 138, issue C, 153-164

Abstract: Migration barriers tend to reduce global production by impeding efficient spatial reallocation of labor. Recent research argues for a countervailing effect of barriers, tending to raise global production by preventing the spread of impoverishing institutions from poor to rich countries. While evidence of this mechanism is scarce, it is theoretically plausible at high migration rates. We propose and calibrate a simple model of dynamically efficient migration when migrants spread economic institutions between countries. The net effect of migration depends on three parameters: transmission, the degree to which origin-country total factor productivity is embodied in migrants; assimilation, the degree to which migrants' productivity determinants become like natives' over time in the host country; and congestion, the degree to which transmission and assimilation change at higher migrant stocks. On current evidence about the magnitudes of these parameters, dynamically efficient policy would not imply open borders but would imply relaxation of current restrictions.

Keywords: F22; J61; O11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Working Paper: The New Economic Case for Migration Restrictions: An Assessment (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: The New Economic Case for Migration Restrictions: An Assessment (2016) Downloads
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