Free Movement, Open Borders, and the Global Gains from Labor Mobility

Posted: 4 Sep 2019

See all articles by Christian Dustmann

Christian Dustmann

University College London; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Ian Preston

University College London - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2019

Abstract

Straightforward economic arguments point to the potential for large global output gains from the movement of labor from less to more productive locations. Yet the politics of receiving countries seems resistant, characterized rather by efforts to limit migration or to stop it altogether. In this article we examine the foundations of claims of large welfare gains through free mobility, studying implications of liberalizing migration for world welfare under a variety of models, paying attention not only to overall gains but also to how gains are distributed and reviewing attempts to quantify the benefits. We conclude by asking how far considerations beyond economics motivate keenness to impose restrictions on migration.

Suggested Citation

Dustmann, Christian and Preston, Ian, Free Movement, Open Borders, and the Global Gains from Labor Mobility (August 2019). Annual Review of Economics, Vol. 11, pp. 783-808, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3445892 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-economics-080218-025843

Christian Dustmann (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

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Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Ian Preston

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7504 5221 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2713 (Fax)

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