13 September 2011

Development Through Mobility?

Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development Michael Clemens is featured on the latest Global Prosperity Wonkcast. In his discussion with host Lawrence MacDonald, Clemens shows how overwhelming evidence shows that allowing more free immigration can lead to effective development. The concern of 'brain drain' is unfounded says Clemens who adds, “A degree of increased labor movement from poor to rich countries of just 5%… would bring more economic gains than the total elimination of every tariff, quota, and barrier to capital movement in the world.”

Clemens is not naive to think that his findings will suddenly change the anti-immigrant push in the United States and Europe, but there is hope. On Wednesday, Republican Presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman said, “Why is it that Vancouver is the fastest growing real estate market in the world today? They allow immigrants in legally and it lifts all boats. We need to focus as much on legal immigration.” Did he get an advance copy of Clemens study? It is not likely, but it is a good sign.

Unfortunately, it does not look like Huntsman will be around too long into the campaign season as he is pretty far behind Romney and Perry, but one can hope that he will have the chance to challenge some of the other candidates on the issue immigration over the next few months.

If you do not already, subscribe to the Global Prosperity Wonkcast. Yea, it is wonky (as the title says) from time to time, but not always. The discussion with Owen Barder about the Horn of Africa crisis is a good example of an episode that is light on the wonk and heavy on understanding an ongoing event.