Policy Strategy Economics Apr 1, 2008

A Bor­der­line Question

The eco­nom­ics of immigration


David A. Besanko

Brad Wible

Snaking 1,900 miles from Tijua­na to Mata­moros, San Diego to Brownsville, the bor­der between Mex­i­co and the Unit­ed States might seem large. But its phys­i­cal size is dwarfed by the pas­sions that it evokes among hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple spread to its north and south. As anx­ious­ly scru­ti­nized as they are heav­i­ly tra­versed, those miles of desert, rivers, and fences sym­bol­ize to some a gate­way to every­thing that is great about Amer­i­ca, while to oth­ers they are a gap­ing leak on a sink­ing ship. Even the most casu­al observ­er of America’s front-page head­lines or late-night TV mono­logues knows of big city ral­lies, mil­lions of immi­grants strong, and of the vol­un­teer army of Min­ute­men, rifle-tot­ing cit­i­zens intent on lock­ing down the bor­der. That bor­der and its issues recent­ly brought Con­gress to a stand­still, and may help decide the next Amer­i­can President.

To bring some lucid, new per­spec­tives to this snarl of con­flict­ing ideas and heat­ed rhetoric, David Besanko, the Kel­logg School’s Senior Asso­ciate Dean for Aca­d­e­m­ic Affairs: Plan­ning and Exter­nal Rela­tions, vis­it­ed Mex­i­co to share some unique analy­ses of Mexican-U.S. immi­gra­tion with groups of Kel­logg alum­ni and their col­leagues. These live­ly and pop­u­lar ses­sions, held in Novem­ber 2007 in Mon­ter­rey and Mex­i­co City, were among the first install­ments of the new Kel­logg Insight Live: Glob­al Edition.

This sit­u­a­tion isn’t com­plete­ly unique, but it’s the most stud­ied exam­ple of immi­gra­tion along a fair­ly large bor­der,” said Besanko, the Alvin J. Huss Pro­fes­sor of Man­age­ment and Strat­e­gy. There are some oth­er cas­es — for exam­ple immi­gra­tion from East­ern Europe or Turkey into West­ern Europe. But right now, it’s cer­tain­ly the most impor­tant in terms of absolute mag­ni­tude, and because the enor­mous dif­fer­ences in eco­nom­ic cir­cum­stances between the U.S. and Mex­i­co make the attrac­tion to immi­grate as great here as anywhere.”

U.S. Immi­gra­tion Policy

For over forty years, U.S. immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy has been gov­erned by the Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­i­ty Act of 1965. Also known as the Hart-Celler Act, this law places an extreme­ly high pri­or­i­ty on uni­fy­ing fam­i­lies, per­mit­ting pref­er­en­tial admis­sion of immi­grants whose kin are already in the Unit­ed States. In 2006 more than 800,000 thou­sand peo­ple — immi­grants fol­lowed by their fam­i­lies — were admit­ted to the Unit­ed States on this basis, while only about 135,000 were admit­ted or grant­ed tem­po­rary visas based on their work skills (Chua 2007). A gen­er­a­tion after Hart-Celler, the Immi­gra­tion Reform and Con­trol Act of 1986 (IRCA) strength­ened bor­der enforce­ment, made it ille­gal to employ undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants, cre­at­ed visas for sea­son­al work­ers, and grant­ed amnesty to immi­grants who were in the Unit­ed States pri­or to 1982.

The ink had bare­ly dried on IRCA when Con­gress passed anoth­er major immi­gra­tion law. The Immi­gra­tion Reform Act of 1990 capped the num­ber of admit­ted immi­grants to 700,000 per year. It also cre­at­ed H-1B tem­po­rary visas, which have become more valu­able than gold to the skilled for­eign work­ers for whom the visas are reserved, and to the grow­ing legions of U.S. com­pa­nies whose con­tin­ued exis­tence depends on amass­ing tech­ni­cal­ly skilled tal­ent. Immi­gra­tion once again became a cen­tral part of the U.S. polit­i­cal agen­da in 2005 and 2006. Pres­i­dent George W. Bush pushed for com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform, and the House and Sen­ate each passed com­plex bills that were so dif­fer­ent that Con­gres­sion­al lead­ers did not even attempt to rec­on­cile them. In 2007 an attempt to achieve bipar­ti­san con­sen­sus in the Sen­ate on a bill co-spon­sored by Sen­a­tors McCain and Kennedy also end­ed in fail­ure. Giv­en the U.S. fed­er­al sys­tem of gov­ern­ment, a por­tion of the finan­cial bur­den of Washington’s grid­lock is borne by state and local gov­ern­ments, which must pro­vide edu­ca­tion and health­care to pop­u­la­tions that have increased — in some cas­es sig­nif­i­cant­ly — due to immi­gra­tion. As a result, more and more state hous­es and town coun­cils see no choice but to work on their own solu­tions. What will these next land­mark U.S. immi­gra­tion poli­cies look like?

We know what’s not going to hap­pen: attempts to round up and deport undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants on a mass basis. The Amer­i­can peo­ple aren’t like­ly to tol­er­ate that sort of extreme solu­tion,” said Besanko. In Mex­i­co, this is the most impor­tant issue in terms of its rela­tion­ship with the Unit­ed States. But right now, U.S. pol­i­cy on immi­gra­tion is not pop­u­lar in Mex­i­co. Pres­i­dent Calderón has accused the Unit­ed States of being hyp­o­crit­i­cal. So for the fore­see­able future, the cur­rent stale­mate on immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy in the Unit­ed States will add a degree of ten­sion to U.S.-Mexican relations.”

The Flow of Immigrants

Agree with them, or dis­agree with them, America’s immi­gra­tion poli­cies have kept its bor­ders busy. From 2001 to 2005, the Unit­ed States added rough­ly five new immi­grants for every one thou­sand res­i­dents, bring­ing the total U.S. immi­grant pop­u­la­tion to an esti­mat­ed 37 mil­lion. Rough­ly one of every eight peo­ple in the Unit­ed States is an immi­grant, about 12.5 per­cent of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion. That per­cent­age is over four times high­er than the por­tion of the total glob­al pop­u­la­tion who live as immi­grants, only 2.9 per­cent. More than a third of the immi­grants liv­ing in the Unit­ed States, 34.1 per­cent, are from Mex­i­co, eclips­ing by far the next largest group, Indi­ans, who com­prise 4.6 per­cent of the U.S. immi­grant population.

Table 1: Source coun­tries of U.S. for­eign-born pop­u­la­tion

Source: Table 2 (p. 14) in Han­son, 2005.

Tra­di­tion­al­ly, our bor­ders have been fair­ly open. With the excep­tion of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, when U.S. law imposed restric­tive immi­gra­tion quo­tas, the U.S. bor­ders have been very much open to immi­grants,” said Besanko. But migra­tion from one coun­try to anoth­er is nev­er easy, no mat­ter how open the bor­ders are, so immi­grants must be moti­vat­ed to come to the Unit­ed States. The U.S. econ­o­my, to mil­lions world­wide, has been pow­er­ful moti­va­tion. Said Besanko, The best eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty in the world is in the U.S.”

But even the best eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty in the world can­not help every­one. About 20 per­cent of for­eign-born non-cit­i­zens live below the pover­ty line in the Unit­ed States, about twice the rate of U.S. cit­i­zens, both native- and for­eign-born. In the increas­ing­ly knowl­edge-based U.S. econ­o­my, many immi­grants are edu­ca­tion­al­ly impov­er­ished as well. Less than half of Mex­i­can and Cen­tral Amer­i­can immi­grants, only about 45 per­cent, have com­plet­ed high school. Rough­ly 95 per­cent of U.S. natives have their high school diplo­mas, as do about 90 per­cent of those who emi­grat­ed from places oth­er than Mex­i­co or Cen­tral America.

Undoc­u­ment­ed Immi­gra­tion in the Unit­ed States

Much agi­ta­tion and angst among Amer­i­cans, osten­si­bly about immi­gra­tion broad­ly defined, seems actu­al­ly to focus on the nar­row but sig­nif­i­cant sub­set of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­gra­tion. It is esti­mat­ed that a quar­ter to a third of all immi­grants who have entered the Unit­ed States since 2000 have been undoc­u­ment­ed. That is about 500,000 peo­ple per year, just under one per­son per minute, dur­ing that span. The pop­u­la­tion of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants has grown by about 40 per­cent dur­ing that time, reach­ing 11.1 mil­lion in 2005, or about 30 per­cent of the U.S. for­eign-born pop­u­la­tion. Rough­ly 60 per­cent of the undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grant pop­u­la­tion is thought to be from Mexico.

Fig­ure 1: Immi­grants by legal sta­tus in 2005

Source: Fig­ure 3 (p. 4) in Pas­sel, 2006

Some peo­ple argue that there’s a pos­si­bil­i­ty that this prob­lem may sta­bi­lize,” said Besanko. One thing we know about undoc­u­ment­ed immi­gra­tion is that peo­ple who come over the bor­der in an undoc­u­ment­ed way are very young, often 18 to 25 years old. But Mexico’s fer­til­i­ty rate has gone down dra­mat­i­cal­ly over the past ten to twen­ty years. So one could won­der whether the issue of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­gra­tion might resolve itself and thus not be a prob­lem that we need to wor­ry about.”

While the fer­til­i­ty argu­ment is an inter­est­ing one, Besanko har­bors doubts. This issue is not going away,” he said, fur­ther ask­ing, So what are our options?”

To some, the hands-down, sin­gle best option is obvi­ous: seal the bor­der. Since the Immi­gra­tion Reform Act passed in 1990, the Unit­ed States has fund­ed a sev­en­fold increase in spend­ing on bor­der enforce­ment. The results have been mixed. From 1990 to 2000, spend­ing quadru­pled from around $500 mil­lion to rough­ly $2 bil­lion (in real 1990 dol­lars), and ille­gal immi­grant appre­hen­sions dou­bled, from around 800 thou­sand to about 1.6 mil­lion. But since then, while real spend­ing increased to about $3.5 bil­lion in 2006, appre­hen­sions actu­al­ly dipped back to 1990 lev­els before increas­ing­ly slight­ly, to about 1.2 mil­lion in 2006.

These mixed results could mean a cou­ple of things,” said Besanko. It could show that enforce­ment has been inef­fec­tive. We spent more in real terms, but appre­hen­sions haven’t changed, or have even gone down. Or it could show that enforce­ment is effec­tive. Few­er peo­ple are risk­ing com­ing to the bor­der, thus there are few­er peo­ple to appre­hend, so appre­hen­sions go down.”

While a tight­ened bor­der can pinch the sup­ply of cheap labor, it does lit­tle to stem U.S. demand for that labor. For many years, lit­tle effort was put into penal­iz­ing U.S. busi­ness­es that employed undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants. In 2003 only 72 employ­ers were con­vict­ed, even though a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the eight to ten mil­lion undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants thought to have lived in the Unit­ed States at the time were in the work­force. Since 1986, less than two dozen employ­ers have paid fines exceed­ing $75,000.

For a long time, it was thought that the exist­ing law on this, the Immi­gra­tion Reform and Con­trol Act of 1986, was rel­a­tive­ly inef­fec­tive,” said Besanko. If you were a busi­ness own­er, and I came to work for you, you looked at my papers, my social secu­ri­ty card, my driver’s license, my visa. Under that law, if you con­clud­ed that those doc­u­ments looked real and hired me, then you were pret­ty much absolved of any legal respon­si­bil­i­ty. If you were penal­ized, it was just by fines.”

Since 2003, how­ev­er, the U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty has stepped up efforts to enforce employ­ment reg­u­la­tions, dra­mat­i­cal­ly increas­ing arrests of both undoc­u­ment­ed work­ers and those who employ them.

Now the gov­ern­ment is get­ting more cre­ative,” said Besanko. If you’re an employ­er sus­pect­ed of hir­ing undoc­u­ment­ed work­ers, it’s quite pos­si­ble that you’re also involved in col­lud­ing with oth­er inter­me­di­aries, like coy­otes.” (Coy­otes are smug­glers who charge to help sneak peo­ple across the bor­der.) He con­tin­ued, So now you’re not just indict­ed for hir­ing work­ers, but also for human smug­gling. The gov­ern­ment tar­gets com­pa­nies they can get on mul­ti­ple dimen­sions, and they come down very hard, often with a threat of crim­i­nal penal­ties. This acts as a deter­rent for oth­er companies.”

Giv­en the increased atten­tion on work­place enforce­ment and bor­der secu­ri­ty, and the cor­re­spond­ing­ly height­ened risk of appre­hen­sion, one might expect the flood of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants to slow to a trick­le. But this does not seem to be the case.

There’s just such a high return on invest­ment from migra­tion,” said Besanko, explain­ing the results of a sim­ple micro­eco­nom­ic mod­el that showed the huge finan­cial incen­tive dri­ving peo­ple, at great risk, across the bor­der. Even if you dou­ble the appre­hen­sion rate, the eco­nom­ic incen­tive to migrate north­ward is still extreme­ly high.”

To appre­ci­ate the return — the reward — that a Mex­i­can might enjoy as a result of invest­ing” in ille­gal entry and employ­ment in the Unit­ed States, one must under­stand a pro­found dif­fer­ence between oppor­tu­ni­ties in the Mex­i­can and U.S. economies. In Mex­i­co in 2006, the aver­age work­er with an eighth grade edu­ca­tion made rough­ly $5,000. That same aver­age work­er, in that same year, would have made about 4.5 times more, $22,500, in the Unit­ed States.

There were a cou­ple of alum­ni in the audi­ence who said, Look, what the U.S. is doing may be good for Mex­i­co,’ ” said Besanko. By aggres­sive­ly enforc­ing the bor­der, the U.S. may force Mex­i­co to address its eco­nom­ic prob­lems. The head of Ban­co de Méx­i­co, Gov­er­nor Guiller­mo Ortiz Martínez, has expressed that very idea.”

Giv­en that most undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants come to the Unit­ed States from rur­al, impov­er­ished regions of Mex­i­co, some econ­o­mists have esti­mat­ed that the U.S.-Mexico earn­ings ratio is far high­er than 4.5 to 1, and may be clos­er to 10 to 1. So in return for about $2,200, the aver­age amount spent to enter the Unit­ed States ille­gal­ly from Mex­i­co, as well as the few months of time and wages need­ed to estab­lish a home in Amer­i­ca, an undoc­u­ment­ed Mex­i­can work­er can earn sev­er­al hun­dred per­cent more than in her native country.

I was sur­prised at how large the return on invest­ment seems to be for immi­gra­tion from Mex­i­co,” admit­ted Besanko. That was one of my most favorite parts of the pre­sen­ta­tion to the alum­ni, see­ing them react to how poten­tial­ly large the return on invest­ment could be.”

With the promise of earn­ing in a U.S. day what could take a Mex­i­can week, moti­vat­ed Mex­i­cans are more will­ing to part with some mon­ey upfront in order to improve their chances of suc­cess­ful emi­gra­tion, con­vinced that they will recoup that cost in no time north of the bor­der. Coy­otes fol­low that mon­ey, like moths to light. The size of the coy­ote mar­ket and the lengths to which coy­otes will go to help Mex­i­cans cross the U.S. bor­der is anoth­er indi­ca­tion of the impres­sive return on the immi­gra­tion investment.

The Eco­nom­ic Impact of Immi­gra­tion on the U.S. and Mexico

This mod­el shows that a large num­ber of indi­vid­ual Mex­i­cans and Cen­tral Amer­i­cans stand to ben­e­fit from find­ing a way to work ille­gal­ly in the Unit­ed States. But does Mex­i­co as a whole ben­e­fit? And does the over­all U.S. econ­o­my suf­fer? Some econ­o­mists have con­clud­ed that the impact of undoc­u­ment­ed work­ers on native-born U.S. work­ers is min­i­mal, point­ing to data that sug­gest that such immi­grants take jobs that would oth­er­wise be unfilled. Care­ful econo­met­ric evi­dence (Bor­jas 2003) sug­gests, how­ev­er, that the influx of immi­grants reduces wages paid to U.S. work­ers, par­tic­u­lar­ly among high school dropouts.

A fair­ly straight­for­ward mod­el of sup­ply and demand shows that work­ers’ wages decrease in the Unit­ed States as the work­force grows via immi­gra­tion. From 1994 to 2006, the num­ber of U.S. work­ers who were immi­grants from Mex­i­co and Cen­tral Amer­i­ca increased by 98 per­cent. Dur­ing that same peri­od, the amount of immi­grant work­ers from the rest of the world grew by only 68 per­cent, and the native-born U.S. work force grew by a mere 9 per­cent. But a wage decrease for work­ers does not mean that the over­all impact on the U.S. econ­o­my is neg­a­tive. The mas­sive amounts of cap­i­tal goods in the Unit­ed States, such as fac­to­ries, machin­ery, and ship­ping vehi­cles, can only reach their great­est pro­duc­tiv­i­ty if there is ample labor to put them to use. So while U.S. wages drop as immi­gra­tion grows, cap­i­tal own­ers see more avail­able labor, thus more pro­duc­tive use of their prop­er­ty. The over­all net impact of immi­gra­tion (not just from Mex­i­co, but from all over the world) on the U.S. econ­o­my is pos­i­tive but small, accord­ing to Besanko: like­ly on the order of $13 bil­lion in 2005, or about 0.11 per­cent of U.S. GDP that year.

But this ben­e­fit (known as the immi­gra­tion sur­plus) is by no means shared equal­ly among all Amer­i­cans. Almost $260 bil­lion, or 2 per­cent of the U.S. econ­o­my, is redis­trib­uted from native labor­ers, whose wages are low­ered, to own­ers of busi­ness­es and house­holds that employ labor. So the mod­est, over­all eco­nom­ic ben­e­fit of immi­gra­tion is masked by a large redis­tri­b­u­tion that leaves native work­ers less well off, espe­cial­ly those with low­er lev­els of edu­ca­tion­al attainment.

Fig­ure 2: Immi­gra­tion sur­plus — Unit­ed States labor market

Though native work­ers in the Unit­ed States are worse off, immi­grant work­ers are bet­ter off than they would have been had they not migrat­ed to the Unit­ed States. Immi­grants share some of this ben­e­fit with friends and rel­a­tives back in their home coun­try. In the case of Mex­i­can immi­gra­tion, this effect is sig­nif­i­cant. Since 2000, while the Mex­i­can-born pop­u­la­tion in the Unit­ed States increased by 20 per­cent, the mon­ey they sent back to Mex­i­co, known as remit­tances, increased by 170 per­cent, total­ing $23 bil­lion in 2006. The flow of those dol­lars out of the Unit­ed States and into Mex­i­co is so large that it makes up almost 2 per­cent of the entire Mex­i­can economy.

Your jaw should drop,” said Besanko, describ­ing this stun­ning­ly mas­sive dri­ver of Mex­i­can pros­per­i­ty. This is enor­mous, and has been going up. With­in a few years it will prob­a­bly be Mexico’s sec­ond biggest source of for­eign exchange earn­ings, after oil revenue.”

This immense impact of mon­ey sent from Mex­i­cans in the Unit­ed States is more than enough to off­set the drag on the Mex­i­can econ­o­my cre­at­ed by the emi­gra­tion-induced decrease in the labor sup­ply. As a result, the migra­tion of Mex­i­cans to the Unit­ed States ben­e­fits those who remain in Mex­i­co by about $190 per per­son annually.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Con­sid­er­ing the big pic­ture on both sides of the bor­der, free flow­ing immi­gra­tion — like free trade — allows more effi­cient use of resources. Both the Unit­ed States and Mex­i­co are able to reap some over­all eco­nom­ic ben­e­fit. But in the Unit­ed States, the immi­gra­tion sur­plus is small, the ben­e­fit is some­what masked by the rel­a­tive­ly larg­er redis­tri­b­u­tion of ben­e­fits away from U.S. work­ers, and the bur­den placed on social ser­vices is increased due to the fact that immi­grant house­holds tend to be more inten­sive recip­i­ents of pub­lic ben­e­fits (such as Med­ic­aid) than U.S. native house­holds. Thus it is not sur­pris­ing, believes Besanko, that Amer­i­cans are divid­ed on the ques­tion of immi­gra­tion. Some Amer­i­cans ben­e­fit eco­nom­i­cal­ly from immi­gra­tion and some are hurt. The win­ners’ gains are big­ger than the losers’ loss­es, but not by much rel­a­tive to the scale of the over­all U.S. econ­o­my. While the gains are not par­tic­u­lar­ly notice­able, the costs are eas­i­er to see — such as the bur­dens placed on the edu­ca­tion and health care sys­tem in cities and towns that have seen surges in immi­grant populations.

Said Besanko, When apply­ing the lens of eco­nom­ics to the issue of immi­gra­tion, we can begin to see why the Unit­ed States has reached an impasse on how to deal with undoc­u­ment­ed immi­gra­tion.” Which brings us back to the ques­tion posed by Besanko and count­less oth­ers: What are our options?”

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, rec­og­niz­ing a prob­lem is often eas­i­er than enact­ing a rem­e­dy. We could focus all our efforts on seal­ing the bor­der com­plete­ly. But that will require hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars, prob­a­bly bil­lions of dol­lars, more than we are cur­rent­ly spend­ing, and the bor­der prob­a­bly won’t ever be ful­ly sealed,” said Besanko. Would such mil­i­tant enforce­ment even be accept­able to the Amer­i­can peo­ple? And that wouldn’t deal with undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants who are already here. The only sen­si­ble remain­ing options for the U.S., in my view, are to com­bine enforce­ment with some well defined path to cit­i­zen­ship, and to con­tin­ue exper­i­ment­ing with some­thing along the lines of a guest work­er program.”

While the U.S. spends bil­lions to enforce the bor­der to low­er the return on invest­ment for immi­grat­ing, Mex­i­co must work on its econ­o­my and cre­ate jobs to increase the return on invest­ment of stay­ing,” offered Besanko. Mex­i­co has done a lot to put its econ­o­my on a sol­id foot­ing. But it must go fur­ther to build an econ­o­my that will make it less attrac­tive to go north.”

The annu­al Glob­al Com­pet­i­tive­ness Index, released in late 2007 by the World Eco­nom­ic Forum, rec­og­nized Mexico’s efforts at reform, rank­ing them thir­ty-fifth out of 131 coun­tries on a com­pos­ite mea­sure of macro­eco­nom­ic sta­bil­i­ty. That rep­re­sent­ed an improve­ment of twen­ty spots from the pre­vi­ous year’s rank­ings. How­ev­er, an abun­dance of weak­ness­es in oth­er crit­i­cal areas kept the over­all rank­ing much low­er, fifty-sec­ond, unchanged from 2006. The U.S. ranked first over­all in both 2006 and 2007. Said Besanko, Mex­i­co must work on its reg­u­la­to­ry cli­mate, make it eas­i­er for peo­ple to start new busi­ness­es, and make progress on con­tract enforce­ment, to allow entre­pre­neur­ship to flour­ish so that jobs can be cre­at­ed. So there’s a lot of eco­nom­ic reform work that Mex­i­co must con­tin­ue to do.”

Giv­en the mag­ni­tude of these issues, it is safe to say that there is a lot of work that we all must con­tin­ue to do.

Fur­ther reading:

Bor­jas, George J. (2003). The Labor Demand is Down­ward Slop­ing: Reex­am­in­ing the Impact of Immi­gra­tion on the Labor Mar­ket,” Quar­ter­ly Jour­nal of Eco­nom­ics, 116(4): 1335 – 1354

Chua, Amy (2007), The Right Road to Amer­i­ca?” Wash­ing­ton Post, Decem­ber 16.

Han­son, Gor­don (2005). Why Does Immi­gra­tion Divide Amer­i­ca? Pub­lic Finance and Polit­i­cal Oppo­si­tion to Open Bor­ders. Wash­ing­ton, DC: Insti­tute for Inter­na­tion­al Economics.

Pas­sel, Jef­frey S. (2006). The Size and Char­ac­ter­is­tics of the Unau­tho­rized Migrant Pop­u­la­tion in the U.S.. Esti­mates Based on the March 2005 Cur­rent Pop­u­la­tion Sur­vey. Pew His­pan­ic Cen­ter, Research Report, March 7. (vis­it site, accessed April 42008.)

About the Writer

David Besanko, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs: Planning and External Relations; Alvin J. Huss Professor of Management and Strategy.

Brad Wible is a Senior Program Associate with the Research Competitiveness Program, a Science and Policy Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He lives in Washington, DC.

About the Research

This article is based on David Besanko’s presentation, “The Economics of Immigration,” which took place in November 2007 in Monterrey and Mexico City as part of the Kellogg Insight Live: Global Edition talk series offered to Kellogg School alumni.

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A con­ver­sa­tion between researchers at Kel­logg and Microsoft explores how behav­ioral sci­ence can best be applied.


Buy­ing a Com­pa­ny for Its Tal­ent? Beware of Hid­den Legal Risks.

Acquir­ing anoth­er firm’s trade secrets — even unin­ten­tion­al­ly — could prove costly.


Take 5: Tips for Widen­ing — and Improv­ing — Your Can­di­date Pool

Com­mon bias­es can cause com­pa­nies to over­look a wealth of top talent.


Every­one Wants Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Break­throughs. What Dri­ves Drug Com­pa­nies to Pur­sue Them?

A new study sug­gests that firms are at their most inno­v­a­tive after a finan­cial windfall.


4 Key Steps to Prepar­ing for a Busi­ness Presentation

Don’t let a lack of prep work sab­o­tage your great ideas.


Video: How Open Lines of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Can Improve Health­care Outcomes

Train­ing physi­cians to be bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tors builds trust with patients and their loved ones.


Here’s a Bet­ter Way to Sched­ule Surgeries

A new tool could dri­ve sav­ings of 20 per­cent while still keep­ing sur­geons happy.

Politics & Elections

Why Eco­nom­ic Crises Trig­ger Polit­i­cal Turnover in Some Coun­tries but Not Others

The fall­out can hinge on how much a country’s peo­ple trust each other.


Build­ing Strong Brands: The Inside Scoop on Brand­ing in the Real World

Tim Calkins’s blog draws lessons from brand mis­steps and triumphs.


How the Cof­fee Indus­try Is Build­ing a Sus­tain­able Sup­ply Chain in an Unsta­ble Region

Three experts dis­cuss the chal­lenges and rewards of sourc­ing cof­fee from the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Congo.