The Welfare Economics of Immigration Control

Posted: 30 Jun 1999

See all articles by Paul Levine

Paul Levine

School of Economics, University of Surrey


This paper develops a Harris-Todaro (HT) type model of East-West migration in which labor market imperfections prevent market clearing in both blocs. The model encompasses two extremes of perfectly flexible wages with full employment on the one hand and the HT scenario, where the real wage in the host country is fixed, on the other. Welfare analysis compares the laissez-faire migration equilibrium based on explicit calculations of potential migrants without immigration controls in the West, with the socially optimal level of migration. The paper examines the issue of immigration control by developing a model of illegal immigration in which the incentives facing the potentially illegal immigrant are explicitly modeled.

JEL Classification: F22, J61, O15

Suggested Citation

Levine, Paul L., The Welfare Economics of Immigration Control. Journal of Population Economics, Vol. 12, Issue 1, 1999. Available at SSRN:

Paul L. Levine (Contact Author)

School of Economics, University of Surrey ( email )

Surrey GU2 7XH
United Kingdom
+44 1483 259 380 Ext. 2773 (Phone)
+44 1483 259 548 (Fax)

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