DP1271 International Migration Controls

Author(s): Gordon M Myers, Yorgos Papageogiou
Publication Date: January 1996
Keyword(s): Immigration Quota, Immigration Tolls, International Migration Policy, International Transfers
JEL(s): F22, H87
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=1271

We study immigration control in a simple one-good model of a homogeneous population in a congested world. We compare quota, the predominant instrument of immigration control, with an entrance price or immigration toll. In our model, an absence of immigration controls (a world of free movement) is first-best efficient and equitable. We show that when the income disparity at the initial population is sufficiently large, a quota system is characterized by an inefficient prohibition of immigration. Tolls restore efficiency, but enable the migrant-receiving country to capture all efficiency gains from migration. We conclude that free movement dominates tolls, and tolls dominate quota.