Episode 62 – Facts without analysis are worthless: immigration and labor

immigration and labor

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We seem to be getting a lot of inspiration from Twitter recently.  And we feel no shame: Twitter is an excellent muse.  There are always people offering their often wrongheaded opinions, so it’s a good place to look for ideas that need correcting.  This happened last night with a conversation regarding immigration and labor.  Someone jumped in and made the argument that immigration isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  He claimed that there were some important points regarding the economy that we were missing.  And it showed that facts are worthless if you don’t know how to analyze them.

He wrote:

Elites want immigrants because they keep wages low. “Good for the economy” doesn’t mean good for you and me.

He also posted a supply and demand curve for wages with the shift in the supply curve due to a significant increase in the number of immigrants.  It correctly showed the equilibrium wage value decrease.  But is that the entire story?

He’s missing some important details, so I fired off a barrage of tweets in response, but we decided that my tweetstorm wasn’t enough.  A lot of people make mistakes in economics, especially those from the conservative crowd who despite their lip service to the free market don’t actually advocate it.  This guy is a good example of that.  We’ll set the record straight on immigration and labor.

Economic complexities do not render simple economic principles incorrect (an explanation of ceteris paribus)
An Economic Case for Immigration by Benjamin Powell

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