Millions of people—nearly 3 percent of the world’s population—no longer live in the country where they were born. Every day, migrants enter not only the United States but also developed countries without much of a history of immigration. Some of these nations have switched in a short span of time from being the source of immigrants to being a destination for them. International migration is today a central subject of research in modern labor economics, which seeks to put into perspective and explain this historic demographic transformation.
Immigration Economics synthesizes the theories, models, and econometric methods used to identify the causes and consequences of international labor flows. Economist George Borjas lays out with clarity and rigor a full spectrum of topics, including migrant worker selection and assimilation, the impact of immigration on labor markets and worker wages, and the economic benefits and losses that result from immigration.
Two important themes emerge: First, immigration has distributional consequences: some people gain, but some people lose. Second, immigrants are rational economic agents who attempt to do the best they can with the resources they have, and the same holds true for native workers of the countries that receive migrants. This straightforward behavioral proposition, Borjas argues, has crucial implications for how economists and policymakers should frame contemporary debates over immigration.
This excellent book is crisply and clearly written and makes a significant contribution to the fields of labor and immigration economics. It will be a go-to resource on immigration for many years to come.
This book is an excellent synthesis of a diverse set of theory and empirical work on immigration. It is well organized, with early chapters doing a good job of setting up the later ones. I have never seen a better job of bringing together such diverse topics as assimilation, selection, and labor market impacts. The author has done an effective job of simplifying the theories down to their essences; and developing equations that make the theories’ implications plain to see with simple algebra, often accompanied by a clear figure. It will be accessible and interest-provoking to graduate and advanced undergraduate students in economics.
- 296 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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