Monday, August 23, 2010

Let My People Come

New data from Gibson and McKenzie (HT: Roving Bandit, full discussion voxEU) reveals that the gains to high-skilled immigrants are vastly larger than the costs or benefits to others, the benefits to others outweigh the costs, and at worst the value of the negative externalities is less than 2% the private value. Some other of their conclusions:
  • the best and brightest stand to earn $40,000-$70,000 more per year by working abroad – which is at least two to three times as much as the developing country individuals would earn at home. 
  • Trade and investment is rare, and the net effect is relatively small. ... Moreover, the value-added of this trade creation will depend on the profit margin of the trade deals – if this is only 10-25% of the transaction value, the mean effect will reduce to $500-$1000 per migrant in Ghana, and smaller in Micronesia and Tonga.
  • The high-skilled from developing countries do remit, typically sending around $5,000 per year. These amounts are large relative to per capita incomes in their home countries, but less than they would have earned at home.
  • The net fiscal cost depends strongly on the progressivity of the tax code. Countries like Ghana and Papua New Guinea which have highly progressive tax rates and spend small amounts on public services per citizen suffer larger fiscal losses than countries like Tonga and Micronesia with flatter tax rates.

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