Immigration in the UK

Robert Rowthorn writes:

There is no evidence from any of them that large-scale immigration generates large-scale economic benefits for the existing population as a whole. On the contrary, all the research suggests that the benefits are either close to zero, or negative … The injection of large numbers of unskilled workers into the economy does not benefit the bulk of the population to any great extent. It benefits the nanny-and housecleaner-using classes; it benefits employers who want to pay low wages; but it does not benefit indigenous, unskilled Britons, who have to compete with immigrants willing to work hard for very low wages in unpleasant working conditions.

A longer version of his thinking on this issue can be found here. His description sounds very much like what the research suggests as far as immigration into the United States. However, as Brad DeLong noted:

I think that we should focus on: “the net benefits… from immigration, aside from the large gains to the immigrants themselves, are small.” Particularly, we should focus on the “large gains to the immigrants themselves.” The net benefits from immigration including the large gains to the immigrants themselves are enormous. We shouldn’t forget that. We should be taking steps to equalize America’s income distribution: more progressive tax brackets, more public provision of services, a more generous Earned Income Tax Credit, a higher minimum wage, a greater focus on education. But tight restrictions on immigration are a really lousy anti-poverty policy: one with enormous excess burdens measured in money, and truly mammoth excess burdens measured in utility.

Rowthorn wonders why the UK Labor Party favors immigration. I wonder why the US Democratic Party is not following Brad’s suggestions.

New Economist cited several stories alleging favorable macroeconomic effects from UK immigration back in April.

Since we are discussing the UK and the US – Happy Independence Day!