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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Refugees Welcome

Some heartwarming images from across football stadiums around Germany this weekend: REFUGEES WELCOME

While a UK government official complains of "marauding" migrants, an eminent scholar accuses migrants of bringing their "dysfunctional cultures", Germany has 3x more asylum petitions than the UK has.

Pictures taken from the twitter feed of @markito0171.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Anti Immigration Arguments Across the Generations

Succinctly summarized in a neat video by @stevegerben.

At some point, I'd like to collect all historical articles declaring immigration to the US as "too much" and plot these side by side with a graph of economic growth in the US over time.

Despite its history of immigration, the US is still one of the most prosperous countries on this planet.

A hat tip to @m_clem for the link.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Our not-so Beautiful Minds

A fun, game-theoretic, puzzle from the NYTimes. You pick a number from 0-100. If you guess 2/3 of the average of all other responses, you win.

As economists, we are taught, that 0 here is the Nash equilibrium. If everyone chooses 0, we all win!

However, people fail to think ahead.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fear trumps facts in migration crisis

It's so unfortunate, frustrating, that discussion about anything immigration is governed by fear, not facts.

Recent news headlines from the UK for example would have you believe that the country is being overrun, flooded, swarmed by asylum seekers. But as this interview with Prof. Christian Dustmann correctly puts it, the number of asylum applications in the UK is actually relatively low.

In 2014, there were 180,000 applications for asylum in the EU that were given a positive decision. The UK's share out of the total is 14,000 (Dustmann's number is somewhat different and I'm not sure why). This is just leagues away from the number that Germany takes in, at 47,000. Now, add in the numbers waiting in Calais, estimated to be around 2000-3000. It's still going to be relatively low. If anything, one could argue that the UK should be taking in more.

So what will be the effect of this crisis on the UK economy? Dustmann's assessment: minimal.

But count on politicians to instill fear: the government just announced measures to thwart asylum seekers: landlords who fail to evict migrants who do not have the right to live in Britain could be jailed for five years.

Meanwhile here in the US, Trump is trying to rile up voters on the idea that the US will be invaded by Mexicans. Except the number of immigrants coming in from Mexico, legally and illegally, has fallen by more than half since its peak in 2003.

Count me frustrated.