Trade vs. Immigration

TRADE vs. IMMIGRATION….Over at Max’s place, Josh Bivens writes about immigration:

Immigration has recently joined international trade as one of the most controversial topics in American politics. For an economist, this isn?t surprising. Economic theory predicts that the impacts of immigration and trade on the American economy are analytically equivalent: both increase total national income while causing redistribution that typically harms less-skilled natives.

Josh makes the point that the ideal answer is the same in both cases: let in both goods and workers, but make up the damage done to the working class via social policy: “The corporate class gets NAFTA, American workers should have gotten universal health care. The corporate class gets membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), American workers should have gotten labor law reform to help willing workers more easily form unions.”

Read the whole thing. If you’re in favor of free trade, why not liberal immigration policies too?