Sunday, June 27, 2010

Listen to the micro

In a better world, markets would trump politics and labor would migrate to its highest and best uses. But that is unlikely to happen and Gary Becker suggests how enlightened politicians (???) could or would manage immigration policy in seemingly rational ways. This week's Economist summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal here.

As so often happens when prohibitions replace markets, we get black markets, criminality and horrid human outcomes, including exploitation and in this case even enslavement.

Becker's proposed immigration market means new sources of revenue. He notes that $50,000 per immigrant means $50 billion for each million immigrants admitted. In the world of political pork, there ought to be ways to divvy up these proceeds to elicit some political interest.

At a time when macro-economists are routinely beaten over the head right and left, how about some attention to what the micro-economists are suggesting?