Gary Becker proposes making a market in immigration

By | June 27, 2010

Gary Becker, the economics Nobel laureate who is probably most famous for his application of economics (in his case, rational choice and utility maximisation) to subjects such as racial discrimination, patterns of family organisation and drug addiction, has recommended the creation of a market in immigration. From The Economist:

As with any price, one for immigration would allocate the ability to migrate to those who desired it most. Successful migrants, Mr Becker argued, would still be better off, even after paying a hefty fee for the privilege. But the receiving country would benefit, too. Adjusting the price from year to year would allow governments to retain control over how many immigrants came while responding to changing labour-market conditions. And the revenue raised might go some way to assuaging the concerns of those who oppose immigration, especially now when clever thinking is needed about ways to improve public finances. Charging $50,000 for the right to immigrate would net America $50 billion if it let in 1m immigrants, roughly as many as it currently admits legally.

Read the article in full here. I mostly agree with the criticism towards the end of the article. You can also check out the comments at the Freakonomics post on the same topic here

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