Texas Tech University

The Economics of Immigration: Market-Based Approaches, Social Science, and Public Policy

About the Program

During the 2013–2014 academic year, the Free Market Institute (FMI) at Texas Tech University invited several scholars to study the impact of immigration in the United States. The main goal of this research program was to produce an authoritative book on the state of our knowledge about the effects of immigration that will be of interest to academics, but still accessible to policy makers and the general public.

In early May 2014, program participants visited Texas Tech University and presented their working research to the other participants and invited members of the university community. Research conference attendees offered criticism in an effort to improve the overall quality of the arguments and evidence presented.

In early 2015, Oxford University Press accepted the manuscript for publication. The Economics of Immigration: Market-Based Approaches, Social Science, and Public Policy is now available for purchase through Oxford University Press, Amazon, and other outlets.

Description (from Oxford University Press)

The Economics of Immigration summarizes the best social science studying the actual impact of immigration, which is found to be at odds with popular fears. Greater flows of immigration have the potential to substantially increase world income and reduce extreme poverty. Existing evidence indicates that immigration slightly enhances the wealth of natives born in destination countries while doing little to harm the job prospects or reduce the wages of the native-born population. Similarly, although a matter of debate, most credible scholarly estimates of the net fiscal impact of current migration find only small positive or negative impacts. Importantly, current generations of immigrants do not appear to be assimilating more slowly than prior waves.

Although the range of debate on the consequences of immigration is much narrower in scholarly circles than in the general public, that does not mean that all social scientists agree on what a desirable immigration policy embodies. The second half of the book contains three chapters, each by a social scientist who is knowledgeable of the scholarship summarized in the first half of the book, which argue for very different immigration policies. One proposes to significantly cut current levels of immigration. Another suggests an auction market for immigration permits. The third proposes open borders. The final chapter surveys the policy opinions of other immigration experts and explores the factors that lead reasonable social scientists to disagree on matters of immigration policy.


FMI Director, Benjamin Powell, serves as the primary contact for media outreach efforts. Please contact the Free Market Institute at free.market@ttu.edu with any questions about the program.

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