January 2, 2010
Giovanni Facchini (Tinbergen Institute), Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University, Institute for the Study of Labor), and Riccardo Puglisi (University of Pavia; Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano) have recently published a paper on how media exposure influences individual attitudes toward illegal immigration.
Illegal immigration has been the focus of much debate in receiving countries, but little is known about what drives individual attitudes towards illegal immigrants. To study this question, we use the CCES survey, which was carried out in 2006 in the United States. We find evidence that – in addition to standard labor market and welfare state considerations – media exposure is significantly correlated with public opinion on illegal immigration. Controlling for education, income and ideology, individuals watching Fox News are 9 percentage points more likely than CBS viewers to oppose the legalization of undocumented immigrants. We find an effect of the same size and direction for CNN viewers, whereas individuals watching PBS are instead more likely to support legalization. Ideological self-selection into different news programs plays an important role, but cannot entirely explain the correlation between media exposure and attitudes about illegal immigration.
December 5, 2009
In his new paper on the economics and policy of illegal immigration in the U.S., Gordon H. Hanson (University of California-San Diego, National Bureau of Economic Research) makes some important observations:
Unauthorized immigrants provide a ready source of manpower in agriculture, construction, food processing, building cleaning and maintenance, and other low-end jobs, at a time when the share of low-skilled native-born individuals in the US labor force has fallen dramatically.
Not only do unauthorized immigrants provide an important source of low-skilled labor, they also respond to market conditions in ways that legal immigration presently cannot, making them particularly appealing to US employers. Illegal inflows broadly track economic performance, rising during periods of expansion and stalling during downturns (including the present one). By contrast, legal flows for low-skilled workers are both very small and relatively unresponsive to economic conditions. Green cards are almost entirely unavailable to low-skilled workers; while the two main low-skilled temporary visa programs (H-2A and H-2B) vary little over the economic cycle and in any case represent scarcely 1 percent of the current unauthorized population, making them an inconsequential component of domestic low-skilled employment.
Despite all this, illegal immigration’s overall impact on the US economy is small. Low-skilled native workers who compete with unauthorized immigrants are the clearest losers. US employers, on the other hand, gain from lower labor costs and the ability to use their land, capital, and technology more productively. The stakes are highest for the unauthorized immigrants themselves, who see very substantial income gains after migrating. If we exclude these immigrants from the calculus, however (as domestic policymakers are naturally inclined to do), the small net gain that remains after subtracting US workers’ losses from US employers’ gains is tiny. And if we account for the small fiscal burden that unauthorized immigrants impose, the overall economic benefit is close enough to zero to be essentially a wash.
August 10, 2009
Here is a great compilation of what Milton Friedman said on immigration.
August 1, 2009
The New York Times reports:
The estimated number of illegal immigrants in a state’s population shows no apparent correlation with the median wage for less educated workers in that state.