We Wanted Workers: Unraveling the Immigration Narrative

George J. Borjas. Norton, $26.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-393-24901-9
When an economist wades into a contentious public policy issue, people may gain a better understanding of the nuances, but their underlying convictions are unlikely to change. Borjas, a Harvard professor who has studied the economics of immigration for decades, gamely attempt to explain the complex mix of benefits and drawbacks of the current and preceding waves of immigration to the United States, but his most dramatic conclusions are tempered by equivocal comments such as “We should not be shocked that different methods can easily generate radically different estimates of the gains” of large-scale immigration. His faith in statistics and rigorous methodology is a constant theme, and he finds “ideologically motivated assumptions and platitudes thoroughly unconvincing.” Instead, he undertakes the analysis of a number of studies. That, of course, is a worthy approach for elevating a debate, but hearing that “it took nearly a century for the melting pot to do its job” makes it harder to evaluate the success of the American experiment in creating an immigrant nation. While Borjas will go as far as to say that immigration will create winners and losers, the book informs without offering particularly satisfying conclusions. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 06/20/2016
Release date: 10/11/2016
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-393-24902-6
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