The development benefits of more migration

Sebastian Mallaby writes in the Washington Post highlighting the possible gains to developing countries of a relaxation in the migration policies of rich countries.

In ” Let Their People Come ,” a new book published by the Center for Global Development, Lant Pritchett reports that if rich countries permitted extra immigration equivalent to 3 percent of their labor force, the citizens of poor countries would gain about $300 billion a year. That’s three times more than the direct gains from abolishing all remaining trade barriers, four times more than the foreign aid given by governments and 100 times more than the value of debt relief.

Quite so.  Development assistance is only a small part of what developed nations can, and should, do to reduce global poverty.

Hat tip: Pienso. More from Arnold Kling.

Published by Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and

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5 Comments

  1. Martin

    I don’t share your view that locals would lose from greater levels of immigration.  The statistical evidence is very weak.

    But even if it were the case, is it your view that I should care more about your income than I do about the income of a person in a developing country who goes to bed hungry?

    Owen

  2. Owen,

    Your question is in two parts, and deserves to be answered that way –

    1. I disagree about the nature of the evidence relting to the effect of mass immigration on income. Read Borjas.

    2. As money is taken from my wages without my consent so that you can receive your wages, then yes, I do think you should care about my income, because without people like me to pay you, Owen, you wouldn’t have one.

  3. Martin

    The Government – which takes money from your wages – does indeed care more about the welfare of its citizens than of foreigners; and as a civil servant working for the government, so will I.

    But as a private citizen – in which capacity I maintain this blog – I do not.

    Owen

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