What is the argument most used by those who oppose immigration reform? That immigrants take jobs away from natives, but Is this idea based on some scientific research or is it just the result of prejudice?
The 2021 Nobel Prize ceremony brought several surprises, such as the three winners of this award in economics, who used a new system of scientific research and determined, among other things, that neither immigrants take jobs away from natives, nor does raising the minimum wage generate negative effects on the economy.
This year the Swedish Academy awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics to the Canadian David Card, the American-Israeli Joshua Angrist and the Dutch-American Guido Imbens, for their contribution in the field of “Natural experiments”. What is this?
For years economics has been questioned as a science, as it is very good at diagnosing, but bad at making predictions. One of the problems is the limited field of experimental actionIn other words, you cannot impose a level of inflation on one community and change it in another to see its effects, for example. It would be unethical to experiment with people’s livelihoods.
How did they overcome this obstacle? With the analysis of “natural experiments”, that is to say they review specific cases from real life, such as communities affected by some phenomenon and compare it with other similar ones to study the impact of different variables. Let’s look at two examples:
Immigrants do not take jobs from natives
Among the works investigated with this method is David Card’s analysis of the so-called “Exodus of Mariel”.
For a short period in 1980, the Fidel Castro regime allowed its citizens to leave Cuba and the revolution if they wanted to, without fear of reprisals. Some 125,000 Cubans were expelled through the port of Mariel and settled in the United States, mostly in Miami.
This city in Florida did not expect such a large number of refugees. Many anticipated that unemployment rates would skyrocket. However, the Nobel Prize winner studied how Miami absorbed this flow of immigrants and compared its economic indicators with those of other cities without this flow.
The analysis showed that the salaries of the natives did not decrease with the arrival of the immigrants, on the contrary, they even increased. One group that did see a reduction in wages was first-generation immigrants already in the country.
The conclusion of the study It was that the arrival of so many immigrants was not negative for employment, because it did not raise unemployment, nor did it lower wages. Simply the immigrants and the natives adapted to a new economic dynamic.
Increasing wages does not create unemployment
Another of the cases analyzed with this method by the Nobel Prize winners minimizes the negative effects of raising the minimum wage.
In 1992 many entrepreneurs in New Jersey “shouted to the sky” for an increase in the minimum wage from $ 4.25 to $ 5.05 an hour, in certain food businesses. At that moment argued that companies could not pay their workers, would go bankrupt and this would generate unemployment.
Nobel Laureate in Economics, David Card, and his late colleague, Alan Krueger analyzed the effects of this salary change and, they compared it to other places like Pennsylvania, where the minimum wage was unchanged.
They discovered, among other things, that wage increases “do not necessarily have to lead to job destruction”, as thought.
Anti-immigrants have no arguments
Once again, it is demonstrated with academic evidence, not conjecture or electoral speeches, that a migration and salary policy with a social focus is beneficial for the country.
Those who oppose immigration reform were left without arguments. It is exposed that their opposition is not economic, it is simply racial and populist. History will judge them for slowing down the development of the country and for causing the separation of millions of families.
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Nobel Prize: Immigrants do not take jobs from natives – La Noticia