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Unformatted text preview: Lecture 24 Todays subject is the economic effects of migration and the policy applications of that. As you may know, one of the arguments against migration is that migrants are a burden, not a benefit to the receiving society, that they disproportionately burden social services like schools and hospitals. One way to respond to arguments like this is to say that the person making the argument must have a rotten character. The response to that response is to point out that you have a rotten character or are hypocritical in some way. This is not a great way to move the discussion forward. I want to actually analyze the argument, and to ask whether immigration in fact tends to be a burden or a benefit. Are immigrants different? By way of introduction, I was talking about differences between migrating groups and the vast majority of people who do not migrate. Are the one or two percent of people who migrate a random sample of the sending country population, or are there ways in which they present a distinctive profile? Demographic differences . First, is the demographic profile of migrants different from that of the people who leave and those who stay home? As weve already seen, immigrant groups are typically not gender-balanced but skewed, with more men than women. There are other demographic differences as well. Its quite unusual for someone in their 60s or 70s to decide to travel to an entirely new country, so the C population is abnormally small. Because migrant groups typically consist of more males than females, the proportion of unmarrieds is typically larger than in the general population at large, and, because of this, the proportion of children tends to be smaller than in the population at large. This factor may be partly counterbalanced by the fact that migrants tend to come from more traditional societies, with higher birth rates, but this countervailing factor is becoming steadily less important as birth rates fall all over the world. Referring back to our discussion of the dependency ratio last Friday, youll see that migrating populations have abnormally high proportions of Bs and correlatively low proportions of As and Cs than the general population does; thus, migrating groups , with their more favorable dependency ratios, tend to be more productive than the typical population. We should note, however, that if gender imbalance tends to become less marked under the modern, much easier conditions of migration than it was in the rougher days of the nineteenth century, this part of the...
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- Spring '08