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Enhancing Economic Growth Through Immigration


Published: January 17, 2019

Immigration has always been a vital component of economic growth in the United States, and certain types of immigrants are more likely to start businesses than others. Younger, more educated immigrants are more likely to be entrepreneurial, as are immigrants who come from countries that haven’t traditionally sent many people to America. The United States could boost its economy if it rebalanced its immigration system to give them a preferred path for green cards.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is America’s current immigration policy?
  2. What are some other benefits of an open immigration policy?

Additional Resources

  • Read “Send Us Your Young, Your Educated” by Edward Lazear in the Wall Street Journal, available here.
  • In “Examining America’s Exceptional Economy,” Edward Lazear explores what has made America's economy successful, what sets it apart from other nations, and what needs to be done to sustain its prominence in the global economy. Available here
  • Hoover Institution senior fellow Edward Lazear discusses immigration and the economy on the Larry Kudlow Show. Listen here.
  • Hoover Institution senior fellow Edward Lazear says that the United States will face increasing economic competition from fast-growing countries like China and India while technological advances change the makeup of the job market. To minimize disruption, innovation in our education system and fair immigration policy are necessary. To read more, click here
  • Read “How Should We Value Immigrants, and How Should That Affect Immigration Reform?” by Edward Lazear, available here.
View Transcript

Immigration has always been an important building block of economic success for the United States. 

But unfortunately there aren’t enough green cards available. Every year, only one million people receive them and become legal permanent residents, while another four million continue to wait in line. 

When people come to America, they come to work. In fact, immigrants are even more likely to work than native-born Americans, which is a uniquely American phenomenon. 

One way that immigrants help the economy and their families is by starting businesses. 

New research shows that immigrants are much more likely to start businesses if they are educated, arrive early in their lives, and come from countries that aren’t currently well-represented among immigrants. 

Both immigrants and the native-born population would prosper if the United States rebalanced its immigration system to admit younger and more educated immigrants from countries that have not benefitted equally from our immigration policies of the past. 

Those countries still have entrepreneurs that are ready to come to the United States