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Are We Serious About Reducing Poverty? Then We Need To Welcome Immigrants (Forbes)

October 19, 2018

By Art Carden

From the article:

According to a March 2018 Center for Global Development working paper by the economist Lant Pritchett, the least you can do for the world's poor--leaving them alone and letting them move to rich countries to work--will help them a lot more than the best you can do for the world's poor in the form of programs and interventions and development aid. In spite of all of our great intentions and noble endeavors, the world's poor would be far better served if we simply left them alone to move to and work in rich countries.

At EconLog, Bryan Caplan argues that Pritchett's paper "should be required reading for every Effective Altruist." I agree, and I would carry it a step further: anyone who thinks himself or herself serious about addressing and alleviating global poverty should read Pritchett's paper and wrestle with its arguments. After years of searching high and low for ways wealthy donors, governments, and NGOs from rich countries can make poor people wealthier and healthier, we've found...not a whole lot. Some things (like giving cash) work at least a little bit, but not much has been particularly transformative.

But then there is immigration, which the economist Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development has called "The Biggest Idea in Development That No One Really Tried." In a 2011 article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Clemens argues that the gains from easing up on immigration restrictions are trillion-dollar bills on the sidewalk waiting to be picked up.

Read the full article here.


Related Experts

Photo of Lant Pritchett
Senior Fellow
Photo of Michael Clemens
Co-Director of Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy and Senior Fellow