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The Immigration Paradox: Alien Workers And Distributive Justice, Howard F. Chang Jul 2008

The Immigration Paradox: Alien Workers And Distributive Justice, Howard F. Chang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The immigration of relatively unskilled workers poses a fundamental problem for liberals. While from the perspective of the economic welfare of natives, the optimal policy would be to admit these aliens as guest workers, this policy would violate liberal ideals. These ideals would treat these workers as equals, entitled to access to citizenship and to the full set of public benefits provided to citizens. If the welfare of incumbent residents determines admissions policies, however, and we anticipate the fiscal burden that the immigration of the poor would impose, then our welfare criterion would preclude the admission of relatively unskilled workers ...


The Disadvantages Of Immigration Restriction As A Policy To Improve Income Distribution, Howard F. Chang Jan 2008

The Disadvantages Of Immigration Restriction As A Policy To Improve Income Distribution, Howard F. Chang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Article, I argue that tax and transfer policies are more efficient than immigration restrictions as instruments for raising the after tax incomes of the least skilled native workers. Policies to protect these native workers frol1'l immigrant competition in the labor market do no better at promoting distributive justice and are likely to impose a greater economic burden on natives in the country of immigration than the tax alternative. These immigration restrictions are especially costly given the disproportionate burden that they place on households with working women, which discourages fel1'wle participation in the labor force. This burden ...


The Economics Of International Labor Migration And The Case For Global Distributive Justice In Liberal Political Theory, Howard F. Chang Jan 2008

The Economics Of International Labor Migration And The Case For Global Distributive Justice In Liberal Political Theory, Howard F. Chang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Estimates of the magnitude of the gains that the world could enjoy by liberalizing international migration indicate that even partial liberalization would not only produce substantial increases in the world’s real income but also improve its distribution. Although the economic effects of immigration on native workers and distributive justice among natives are often advanced as reasons to reduce immigration, these concerns do not provide a sound justification for our restrictive immigration laws. Instead, the appropriate response to concerns about the distribution of income among natives is to increase the progressivity of our tax system. Protectionist immigration policies are not ...