Yes, Immigration Increases the Supply of Workers...

Many people opposed  to relaxed immigration laws note the above, and then conclude that advocates of such relaxations must not care about American workers.

Seem reluctant to mention that immigration also increases the demand for workers. Immigrants need houses and roads and food and schools. What is the net effect of the two "forces"? I don't know. But any analysis that leaves out either force is either dishonest or incompetent and can be dismissed out of hand.

3 comments:

  1. Don't forget demand for goods as well. Good for sellers, not so much for buyers. Supply of goods, good for buyers, not so much sellers. How it impacts individuals will vary with their exposure.

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  2. Similar short-circuited analysis is made by proponents of relaxing immigration:

    *Immigrants increase both supply and demand for labor, so let's call it a wash. And they add diversity, so therefore they must be good.*

    With all due respect, Gene, I suggest you dive past these easy to dismiss one-liners and actually look into the analysis of the net effect you mention. For instance, labor (and the factors of production generally) are not always very mobile within a nation. If immigrants flood the construction industry and lower wages, no matter how much of their income they give to Walmart and the USG, the domestic labor market is hit hard and must restructure, and not always in desirable ways.

    This is all somewhat tangential to your post, I know. You are trying to highlight the analytical gap in a common trope. But I am challenging you because I have noticed that with immigration in particular you are hesitant to wade into the discussion being had by those making the best arguments for their respective sides. This discussion is more accessible than the debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

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    1. "I am challenging you because I have noticed that with immigration in particular you are hesitant to wade into the discussion being had by those making the best arguments for their respective sides."

      Intellectual division of labor. I am "looking into" enough things already: I can't take on yet another topic!

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