Immigration and the Crisis

By Tara Tosten, NYU Florence student and Economics major

Immigration. It is a fairly strong word, rich with connotation.  In America, often bad connotations, citizens debate over how the increasing number of foreigners are taking domestic jobs and propose measures as strong as putting up a large fence to keep away the immigrants entering the country illegally.  Add on to this the issue of the economic crisis and the tempers begin to swell.  It is a strong word to say the least, and yet heated is not how I would to describe LPD’s Dialogue on immigration and the crisis, organized with the EUI and held in the Teatro of the Badia Fiesolana.  At the start of the Dialogue Jaris Panagiotidis mentioned that it is interesting to discuss a topic so wrought with tension with economists.  From an economical perspective immigration is a good thing overall.  As George Borjas noted, as in all things there are winners and there are losers, as far as immigration goes, the workers are the losers because they are competing for jobs and face lower salaries than they otherwise would.  Yet the producers and consumers are the winners, those who benefit from cheaper products and in the end increased GDP.  Economics is there to point out who will win and who will lose, the costs and benefits, while policy makers are there to decide how much the workers will lose, and how much everyone else will gain.

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