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Alex Padilla - The Grecian horse: how much impact do immigrants have on economic state policies and institutions?

July 12, 2023
Wednesday 12:00 PM
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Concerns about the institutional impact of immigration, particularly in the United States, are not new. We can trace them back to Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. More recently, in response to a literature that questions the desirability of current immigration restrictions, Borjas (J Econ Lit 53:961–974, 2015) speculates that immigrants coming from countries with poor institutions could reduce substantially the institutional quality in the United States to a point where it could negate all economic gains associated with immigration in terms of GDP and income. Using the Economic Freedom of North America index and the state operational ideology indices developed by Berry et al. (2010) since 1980, we find very few empirical evidence to corroborate Borjas’s concerns when it comes to immigrants’ impact on state economic policy.

Alex Padilla is a Professor of Economics, the Department Chair, and the Director of the Exploring Economic Freedom Project at Metropolitan State University of Denver where he has taught economics since 2002. In collaboration with Nicolas Cachanosky, Alex Padilla has published papers on immigrants’ institutional impact in the United States in Public Choice, the Journal of Private Enterprise, and Contemporary Economy Policy showing that immigrants have no economically significant impact on the quality of US states’ economic institutions and policies. In “Immigration and Institutional Change: Did Mass Immigration Cause Peronism in Argentina?” (Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 184, 2021), Alex and Nicolas show that, contrary to popular narratives, mass immigration to Argentina does not explain Juan D. Perón’s (the iconic Argentine populist leader) rise to power in Argentina in the mid-20 th century. Alex Padilla holds a bachelor, a master, and a doctorate in Economics from the University of Law, Economics, and Sciences of Aix-Marseille III in France.

This event will be held at the Jordan Student Success Building Board Room 400, 890 Auraria Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204.

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