The Openness-Equality Trade-Off in Global Redistribution

The Economic Journal, Forthcoming

45 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2014 Last revised: 26 Oct 2016

E. Glen Weyl

Microsoft Research; Yale University

Date Written: October 25, 2016


The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries accept massive numbers of migrants from poor countries and pay wages that dramatically improve over outside options but are meagre by the standards of natives. As such they do dramatically more per capita to reduce global inequality than do the “fortress welfare states” of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. If OECD countries were to imitate the GCC it would reduce global inequality by more than full equalisation within the OECD would. Such examples suggest a philosophically disturbing trade-off between openness to global inequality-reducing migration and internal equality.

The online appendix may be found at

Keywords: global redistribution, migration, global inequality, Gulf Cooperation Council, prejudice

JEL Classification: D63, F22, H21, J61, O19

Suggested Citation

Weyl, E. Glen, The Openness-Equality Trade-Off in Global Redistribution (October 25, 2016). The Economic Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: or

Eric Glen Weyl (Contact Author)

Microsoft Research ( email )

One Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
(857) 998-4513 (Phone)


Yale University ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

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