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December 14, 2011

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"The Impact of Immigration on Native Poverty"

Posted: 14 Dec 2011 12:24 AM PST

Immigration is not the cause of poverty:

The Impact of Immigration on Native Poverty through Labor Market Competition, by Giovanni Peri, NBER Working Paper No. 17570, November 2011: In this paper I first analyze the wage effects of immigrants on native workers in the US economy and its top immigrant-receiving states and metropolitan areas. Then I quantify the consequences of these wage effects on the poverty rates of native families. The goal is to establish whether the labor market effects of immigrants have significantly affected the percentage of "poor" families among U.S.-born individuals. I consider the decade 2000-2009 during which poverty rates increased significantly in the U.S. As a reference, I also analyze the decade 1990-2000. To calculate the wage impact of immigrants I adopt a simple general equilibrium model of productive interactions, regulated by the elasticity of substitution across schooling groups, age groups and between US and foreign-born workers. Considering the inflow of immigrants by age, schooling and location I evaluate their impact in local markets (cities and states) assuming no mobility of natives and on the US market as a whole allowing for native internal mobility. Our findings show that for all plausible parameter values there is essentially no effect of immigration on native poverty at the national level. At the local level, only considering the most extreme estimates and only in some localities, we find non-trivial effects of immigration on poverty. In general, however, even the local effects of immigration bear very little correlation with the observed changes in poverty rates and they explain a negligible fraction of them.

Links for 2011-12-14

Posted: 14 Dec 2011 12:06 AM PST

The Fed Leaves Policy Unchanged

Posted: 13 Dec 2011 12:06 PM PST

A few comments on today's FOMC decision:

The Fed Leaves Policy Unchanged

Assessing the Climate Talks

Posted: 13 Dec 2011 11:07 AM PST

Robert Stavins assess the Durban climate talks:

Assessing the Climate Talks — Did Durban Succeed?, by Robert Stavins: The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adjourned on Sunday, a day and a half after its scheduled close, and in the process once again pulled a rabbit out of the hat by saving the talks from complete collapse (which appeared possible just a few days earlier).  But was this a success?
The Durban Outcome in a Nutshell
The outcome of COP-17 includes three major elements:  some potentially important elaborations on various components of the Cancun Agreements; a second five-year commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol; and (read this carefully) a non-binding agreement to reach an agreement by 2015 that will bring all countries under the same legal regime by 2020.
Is This a Success?
If by "success" in Durban, one means solving the climate problem, the answer is obviously "not close."
Indeed, if by "success" one meant just putting the world on a path to solve the climate problem, the answer would still have to be "no."
But, I've argued previously – including in my pre-Durban essay last month – that such definitions of success are fundamentally inappropriate for judging the international negotiations on the exceptionally challenging, long-term problem of global climate change.
The key question, at this point, is whether the Durban outcome has put the world in a place and on a trajectory whereby it is more likely than it was previously to establish a sound foundation for meaningful long-term action.
I don't think the answer to that question is at all obvious, but having read carefully the agreements that were reached in Durban, and having reflected on their collective implications for meaningful long-term action, I am inclined to focus on "the half-full glass of water."  My conclusion is that the talks – as a result of last-minute negotiations – advanced international discussions in a positive direction and have increased the likelihood of meaningful long-term action.  Why do I say this? ...[continue]...

Climate change legislation has all but dropped of the radar in the US political arena.

Repeating the "Big Lie"

Posted: 13 Dec 2011 09:36 AM PST

If you are going to read this, be sure to read this first so you can properly evaluate the credibility of the author -- an author who insists, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, that ACORN caused the crisis:

...Congressman Frank was one of the leaders of the effort in Congress to meet the demands of activists like ACORN for an easing of underwriting standards in order to make home ownership more accessible to more people. It was perhaps a worthwhile goal, but it caused the financial crisis...

That's nuts to put it mildly. See here, or any of the other many, many debunkings of this attempt to push the blame for the housing crisis on programs that tried to help the poor. The hope, of course, is that this will undermine support for social programs intended to help the disadvantaged -- that's the underlying agenda as the post below this one points out. For that reason, it's important not to let the "big lie" go unchallenged as it is repeated again and again by those supporting the right's political agenda.

The Deficit is the Means, not the End

Posted: 13 Dec 2011 08:46 AM PST

I've made this point many, many times as well, but it's worth emphasizing once again. As Krugman notes:

...the GOP is not now, and never has been (at least not since the 1970s) concerned about the deficit. All the fiscal posturing of the last couple of years has been about using the deficit as a club to smash the welfare state, with the secondary goal of frustrating any efforts on the part of the Obama administration to help the struggling economy.

The entire debate has been fake. If you don't understand that, or can't bring yourself to admit it, you're missing the whole story.

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