Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Migration Policy: A Good SWF Kick?

Optimal Migration: A World Perspective

Jess Benhabib & Boyan Jovanovic
NBER Working Paper, January 2007

We ask what level of migration would maximize world welfare. We find that skill-neutral policies are never optimal. An egalitarian welfare function induces a policy that entails moving mainly unskilled immigrants into the rich countries, whereas a welfare function skewed highly towards the rich countries induces an optimal policy that entails a brain-drain from the poor countries. For intermediate welfare functions that moderately favor the rich however, it is optimal to have no migration at all.

I am always interested in the perspective in these sorts of hive-mentality collectivist metrics of "optimality." They don't care about what individuals want, and they would prefer to control people and move them around like chess pieces. Or, in this case, make people stay in the little squares where they happened to be born.

(Nod to KL, who wonders, "Why We Can't All Just Get Along?")

1 comment:

Gabriel M said...


YouNotSneaky!: How much of a jerk do you have to be to oppose immigration?