Thoughts On Immigration

Updated: Nov 23, 2020



“By one estimate , 83% of native - born rich - country workers benefit from immigration. Migrants may drag down the wages of native workers with similar skills, but the effect is so small that economists are not sure it exists.”

The Economist, 11/16/2019


Instead of building walls, maybe individual communities should build identification and incentive schemes to attract the kind of workers they need.



Has anyone estimated the money multipliers associated with a new immigrant dollar?


Possible Multiplier drivers:

  • Taxes

  • Local basic consumption (food, clothing, etc)

  • Housing

  • Community charitable participation (churches, etc)

  • Company revenue?



LinkedIn post:


Caravan question: Should we send the US Army with guns or an Army of HR specialists with job applications?


In looking at the latest BLS economic numbers and related info:

  • 7 million US job openings and steadily increasing over the last year

  • 1.5 million Americans not looking for a job, this number has been steady and does not seem to be impacted by job supply.

  • 2 major hurricanes hitting US east coast recently, leaving a path of destruction and reconstruction opportunities

  • 7,200 people looking for work and willing to face hardship for the opportunity



"Refugees Make Great Entrepreneurs and Workers" - Economist 11/21/19


“History is replete with immigrants who have brought economic skills with them, from the Flemish weavers who came to England in the 14th century to the millions of Europeans who emigrated to America in the late 19th. Today's migrants also have plenty to offer, if only the authorities will let them work.”


“This is what immigrants tend to do, they work hard so they can rebuild their lives and they spot niches in the market that others might miss. “


"US Firms Pull Back on Investment” - WSJ, 11/26/19


“The trade uncertainty has been a major drag on U.S. investment," Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom said. Mr. Bloom partners with Steven Davis of the University of Chicago and the Atlanta Fed on a monthly survey of business uncertainty.”


“Trump administration officials have said trade barriers are meant in part to block imports and help revive U.S. manufacturing, while the new but unratified North American trade pact is also intended to encourage manufacturing investment in the U.S. President Trump has said higher tariffs were needed to get China to curtail trade practices that penalize U.S. businesses.”


It points to negative effects of trade tariffs and unintended consequences.


Martin Wolf: why rigged capitalism is damaging liberal democracy” - FT article, 9/18/19


“The economic impact of immigration has also been small, however big the political and cultural “shock of the foreigner” maybe. Research strongly suggests that the effect of immigration on the real earnings of the native population and on receiving countries’ fiscal position has been small and frequently positive.


Far more productive than this politically rewarding, but mistaken, focus on the damage done by trade and migration is an examination of contemporary rentier capitalism itself.


"Finance plays a key role, with several dimensions. Liberalised finance tends to metastasise, like a cancer. Thus, the financial sector’s ability to create credit and money finances its own activities, incomes and (often illusory) profits.”


See Bryan Caplain’s book Open Boarders for a nice description of how immigration benefits the economy and a discussion of humans natural “us v them” cognitive bias that makes immigration politics so appealing.


"Delayed Reaction, Immigration to America is down. Wages are up" - The Economist, 2/13/20


“The lesson from all these papers is that, over time, the economy adjusts to a fall in the number of immigrants. In the short term, native workers may well see a Wage boost as labour supply falls. But businesses then reorient production towards less labour- intensive products; natives take jobs previously occupied by foreign-born folk, which may be worse paid; and bosses invest in labour-saving machinery, which can reduce the pay of remaining workers.”


Interesting - the increasing short term low skilled labor wages has the long term effect of increasing the value of automation, and the reduction in the jobs being automated. In effect, accelerating a trend already in motion.




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