Optimal Migration: A World Perspective

32 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2007 Last revised: 4 Mar 2021

See all articles by Jess Benhabib

Jess Benhabib

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Boyan Jovanovic

New York University - Department of Economics

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Date Written: January 2007

Abstract

We ask what level of migration would maximize world welfare. We find that skill-neutral policies are never optimal. An egalitarian welfare function induces a policy that entails moving mainly unskilled immigrants into the rich countries, whereas a welfare function skewed highly towards the rich countries induces an optimal policy that entails a brain-drain from the poor countries. For intermediate welfare functions that moderately favor the rich however, it is optimal to have no migration at all.

Suggested Citation

Benhabib, Jess and Jovanovic, Boyan, Optimal Migration: A World Perspective (January 2007). NBER Working Paper No. w12871, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=960446

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New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

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Boyan Jovanovic

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