(Debunking) The Case for Migration Restrictions

I had a blog post all written about this new working paper by Michael Clemens and Lant Pritchett “The New Economic Case for Migration Restriction“, then Chris Blattman posted about this comedy show that summarizes the research much better than I ever could.

I strongly recommend taking the time to watch this. It will make you laugh, cry, weep, and think. (Pardon the occasional language.)

For the nerdier readers. I find this paragraph from the paper to be tremendously insightful and painfully relevant:

Permitting people to move from low-productivity places to high-productivity places appears to be by far the most efficient generalized policy tool, at the margin, for poverty reduction. Almost all policies intended to raise the incomes of people in poor places do so either modestly or not at all. A successful in situ anti-poverty program might raise the per-capita consumption of the world’s poorest households by US$54 per year (Banerjee et al. 2015). A two-year, six-component in situ intervention—guided by some of the top minds in development economics and backed by formidable financial and organizational resources—produced the equivalent annual consumption gain of the wage differentials of working in a rich versus poor country for one day. The harm to the poor from policies that produce such large losses for the poor cannot be systematically offset by the gains to any known in situ development intervention.

(Emphasis mine.)

HT: David MacKenzie and Chris Blattman

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