High-Skilled Migration to the United States and Its Economic Consequences

University of Chicago Press
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Immigration policy is one of the most contentious public policy issues in the United States today. High-skilled immigrants represent an increasing share of the U.S. workforce, particularly in science and engineering fields. These immigrants affect economic growth, patterns of trade, education choices, and the earnings of workers with different types of skills. The chapters in this volume go beyond the traditional question of how the inflow of foreign workers affects native employment and earnings to explore effects on innovation and productivity, wage inequality across skill groups, the behavior of multinational firms, firm-level dynamics of entry and exit, and the nature of comparative advantage across countries.
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About the author

Gordon H. Hanson holds the Pacific Economic Cooperation Chair in International Economic Relations and is director of the Center on Global Transformation at the University of California, San Diego. William R. Kerr is the Dimitri V. D’Arbeloff-MBA Class of 1955 Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Sarah Turner is the University Professor of Economics and Education and Souder Family Professor at the University of Virginia. All three are research associates of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jun 15, 2018
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780226525662
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic Conditions
Business & Economics / Economics / Microeconomics
Business & Economics / General
Social Science / Emigration & Immigration
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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With 11.9 million undocumented residents in the United States and illegal entrants accounting for nearly half of the low-skilled foreign workforce, there is widespread agreement that the current U.S. immigration system is broken. Past reform agendas have emphasized strengthening border security, increasing the number of visas for foreign guest workers, and defining a path to legal residence for illegal immigrants already living in the country. When the Obama administration addresses immigration reform-as it has promised to do before 2012-should it pick up where previous reform proposals left off? In Regulating Low Skilled Immigration in the United States, Gordon H. Hanson contends that efforts to curtail illegal entry will fail unless policymakers design a system that is responsive to market signals that encourage individuals to move from low-wage labor markets in regions such as Central America to the more robust labor market in United States. On the whole, immigration benefits the U.S. economy by raising national income and making domestic capital more productive. However, increasing the low-skilled population may also increase the net tax burden on native residents. Successful reform depends on attracting immigrants with strong incentives to be productive laborers who will not place excessive demands on public services. Illegal immigration, as regulated by market forces, largely satisfies these criteria, but at the cost of undermining the rule of law and leaving the immigrant population unprotected. To create a better system for managing low-skilled immigration, Hanson argues, Congress should preserve the features of the current regime that serve the country well and strip away the features that corrode civil society and harm immigrants.
With 11.9 million undocumented residents in the United States and illegal entrants accounting for nearly half of the low-skilled foreign workforce, there is widespread agreement that the current U.S. immigration system is broken. Past reform agendas have emphasized strengthening border security, increasing the number of visas for foreign guest workers, and defining a path to legal residence for illegal immigrants already living in the country. When the Obama administration addresses immigration reform-as it has promised to do before 2012-should it pick up where previous reform proposals left off? In Regulating Low Skilled Immigration in the United States, Gordon H. Hanson contends that efforts to curtail illegal entry will fail unless policymakers design a system that is responsive to market signals that encourage individuals to move from low-wage labor markets in regions such as Central America to the more robust labor market in United States. On the whole, immigration benefits the U.S. economy by raising national income and making domestic capital more productive. However, increasing the low-skilled population may also increase the net tax burden on native residents. Successful reform depends on attracting immigrants with strong incentives to be productive laborers who will not place excessive demands on public services. Illegal immigration, as regulated by market forces, largely satisfies these criteria, but at the cost of undermining the rule of law and leaving the immigrant population unprotected. To create a better system for managing low-skilled immigration, Hanson argues, Congress should preserve the features of the current regime that serve the country well and strip away the features that corrode civil society and harm immigrants.
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