Immigration Restriction as Redistributive Taxation: Working Women and the Costs of Protectionism in the Labor Market

29 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2008 Last revised: 28 Oct 2009

See all articles by Howard F. Chang

Howard F. Chang

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Abstract

In this paper, I argue that tax and transfer policies are more efficient than immigration restrictions as instruments for raising the after-tax incomes of the least skilled native workers. Policies to protect these native workers from immigrant competition in the labor market do no better at promoting distributive justice and are likely to impose a greater economic burden on natives in the country of immigration than the tax alternative. These immigration restrictions are especially costly given the disproportionate burden that they place on households with working women, which discourages female participation in the labor force. This burden runs contrary to the teachings of optimal tax theory and introduces excessive distortions in the labor market because the supply of female labor is more elastic than the supply of male labor. Thus, the best response to concerns about the effect of immigration on the distribution of income among natives is to increase the progressivity of the tax system.

Keywords: Immigration Law, Labor Economics, Feminism, Women, Gender Studies, Income Taxation, Law and Equality, Race Relations, Economics, International Trade

JEL Classification: F22, J2, J61, H2, K

Suggested Citation

Chang, Howard F., Immigration Restriction as Redistributive Taxation: Working Women and the Costs of Protectionism in the Labor Market. Journal of Law, Economics and Policy, Vol. 5, p. 1, 2009, U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 08-13, U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 08-22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1141165

Howard F. Chang (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

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