Economics of Immigration Course to Shed Light on the Consequences of Current Policies | Information Center


Thanks to its proximity to the US-Mexico border, San Diego is no stranger to border and immigration policies and the impact on communities in the region.

In autumn, Thiago de Lucenaassistant professor of economics at San Diego State University, will help students examine US immigration policy to learn about intended and unintended consequences.

“Given the passion people have for discussions related to migration, it’s hard to find a place where these discussions are happening in a positive analytical way,” de Lucena said. “In this course, we are not going to point fingers and say ‘Immigration is good’ or ‘Immigration is bad’.”

The debate about the consequences of immigration for American workers is relevant. De Lucena hopes to get students thinking about why people migrate, the effects of immigrants on labor markets, and how first- and second-generation immigrants assimilate.

Course readings will include work by researcher Giovanni Peri, University of California, Davis Professor of Economics and co-author of “Immigration and the Economy of Cities and Regions”, and a number of other publications on the economics of international migration. Others include the writings of Harvard economics and immigration expert George Borjas, who wrote “Immigration Economics” and “Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy.”

Class discussions will include national perspectives and immigration studies. A recent article published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, “The Political Effects of Immigration: Culture or Economics? by Alberto Alessina and Marco Tabellini finds: “Existing evidence suggests that immigrants often, but not always, trigger negative reactions, increasing support for anti-immigrant parties and decreasing preferences for redistribution and diversity among natives.

De Lucena emigrated to the United States from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil seven years ago, which gave her first-hand knowledge and insight into acclimating to a newly adopted country. Learning about immigration through the prism of economic theory helped provide explanations for why he made the choice to move. “If I still agree 100% with those explanations, that’s another story,” he said. In a university that has a large number of first and second generation students, he hopes to make an impression.

“It may sound cliché, but I believe that as an educator, I play a key role in shaping the citizens of tomorrow,” he said. “In that sense, I just hope that this course will help clarify misconceptions and put students in a better position to make choices about current and future immigration policies in the United States”


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