Shikha Dalmia of the Reason Foundation has a paper arguing for open borders in a US context here (PDF download here (17 pages)). People who are familiar with the Open Borders website and blog will probably not find much new about the paper, but it still makes for interesting reading. The first page of the paper, with some discussion on the attitudes towards immigration of historical figures such as Adam Smith and Karl Marx, included some nuggets of information that were new to me. Dalmia’s paper is mainly focused on the US-specific suppression of wages of natives and the welfare state/fiscal burden objection, but she also considers some more niche objections such as overpopulation and environment, cheap labor leading to a technological slowdown, and increased footprint.
For those new to this blog, please check out our pro-open borders reading list which includes links to articles, papers (including Dalmia’s), and books making the case for open borders from a variety of perspectives. For balance, you may also wish to read the anti-open borders reading list. You might also want to check out our video section while you’re at it.
John Kennan has come out with a NBER paper titled Open Borders (ungated PDF). The paper is heavy on mathematical economics, and adds to a growing literature that indicates that relaxing immigration restrictions would have massive utilitarian benefits while the negative effect on native wages would be small. I haven’t had time to go through the paper in detail, but here’s the abstract:
There is a large body of evidence indicating that cross-country differences in income levels are associated with differences in productivity. If workers are much more productive in one country than in another, restrictions on immigration lead to large efficiency losses. The paper quantifies these losses, using a model in which efficiency differences are labor-augmenting, and free trade in product markets leads to factor price equalization, so that wages are equal across countries when measured in efficiency units of labor. The estimated gains from removing immigration restrictions are huge. Using a simple static model of migration costs, the estimated net gains from open borders are about the same as the gains from a growth miracle that more than doubles the income level in less-developed countries.
While you’re reading the literature on open borders, check out the pro-open borders reading list on this site, which includes a mix of web articles, research papers, and books. If there’s one research paper on open borders you should read, it is Michael Clemens’ “trillion dollar bills on the sidewalk” paper (ungated PDF).
H/T: Arnold Kling