No Reason to Run

Dave Killion — July 6, 2011

If I had started blogging years ago, at some point I would have written something about how industrialized nations should open up to higher levels of immigration while the getting is good. I would have pointed out that leaving one’s native culture is such a tough and unpleasant exercise that there is probably a very low income threshold at which emigrating becomes unpalatable to  the vast majority of people. I would have argued that rising global incomes are going to quickly kill most of the incentives for emigration. And then today I would have said “I told you so” –

The extraordinary Mexican migration that delivered millions of illegal immigrants to the United States over the past 30 years has sputtered to a trickle, and research points to a surprising cause: unheralded changes in Mexico that have made staying home more attractive.

A growing body of evidence suggests that a mix of developments — expanding economic and educational opportunities, rising border crime and shrinking families — are suppressing illegal traffic as much as economic slowdowns or immigrant crackdowns in the United States.

If you don’t think that higher incomes are immigration killers, ask yourself this – how low would your income have to go before you would leave the US or Canada, and try to build a future for yourself and your family in Japan, Brazil, or Russia?


G says

Excellent article Dave. This is something that is rarely mentioned in the media or even libertarian circles! Incentives, in a peaceful market, are there to move people and capital into places they will provide the most value to others – as slowdowns continue, that higher value will gradually be more and more in the developing countries.

— July 7, 2011

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