Thursday, July 15, 2010

Making immigrants pay

The NYT Freakonomics website has caused quite a stir by linking to this interview with Nobel Laureate Gary Becker.  The interview covers a wide range of topics, but the one that has gone viral is the discussion of immigration.  Becker argues that the US charge potential immigrants for the opportunity to become citizens, perhaps as much as $50,000.  A fuller discussion of his views can be found at the University of Chicago website.  The advantages of Becker's approach are as follows: (1) immigrants would generate net resources rather than absorb them and (2) the fee would encourage immigration among those who are skilled and better able to fit into the labor market.  A loan program could be set up for those who do not have $50k; they could repay via higher income taxes. 

Current immigration policy emphasizes family reunification, where the term family is broadly defined to include parents and siblings.  MBA 505 graduates can compare and contrast the advantages of each approach. 

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