To the extent that immigration reform is discussed in terms of economics, the debate tends to focus exclusively on labor issues—specifically, how immigrants affect jobs and wages for native citizens. But to understand the economic effects of immigration, and thus develop sounder policies, policymakers need to consider how immigration affects all three core components of economic growth: not just labor, but capital and innovation too. In this brief, Professor Hernandez discusses new research showing that immigration produces gains for the U.S. economy with respect to capital and innovation. Immigrants help to attract investment from foreign firms and significantly increase bilateral trade flows between the U.S. and their home countries. Immigrants also account for roughly a quarter of all U.S. entrepreneurs. They not only generate novel businesses and inventions, but also introduce novel ideas that U.S. natives develop further to create new products and companies of their own. Just as importantly, labor, capital, and innovation are all interrelated. Failing to understand the multipli¬cative relationship between these three elements can result in botched economic policy.
Infrastructure is one of the key issues on the American political agenda. How to finance and manage the rebuilding of America’s aging infrastructure was the topic of a B-School for public policy seminar. Professor Bob Inman provided an overview of the economic and political factors that influence the financing and management aspects as well as provided an analytical framework, highlighting the way in which economists, with their focus on efficiency, differ from engineers in analyzing infrastructure investments. To share his insights with a wider audience, Professor Inman joined the Knowledge@Wharton radio show, which airs on SiriusXM Channel 111, to discuss what it would take to finance improvements, and the role government should play.
The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has generated a lot of conversation this year. The conversation in the U.S. often has focused on whether a UBI program here would be politically palatable and feasible. Its economic implications, however, are not always well understood. This seminar will draw on new research on UBI-style programs, such as the Alaska Permanent Fund, to discuss their effects, especially with regard to labor markets.