Wretched Refuse?

Wretched Refuse? : The Political Economy of Immigration and Institutions

4.08 (13 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 8-11 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


Economic arguments favoring increased immigration restrictions suggest that immigrants undermine the culture, institutions, and productivity of destination countries. But is this actually true? Nowrasteh and Powell systematically analyze cross-country evidence of potential negative effects caused by immigration relating to economic freedom, corruption, culture, and terrorism. They analyze case studies of mass immigration to the United States, Israel, and Jordan. Their evidence does not support the idea that immigration destroys the institutions responsible for prosperity in the modern world. This nonideological volume makes a qualified case for free immigration and the accompanying prosperity.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 153 x 230 x 25mm | 520g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 1108702457
  • 9781108702454
  • 1,426,341

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction; Part I. State of Debate: 2. An Economic Case for Free Immigration; 3. The New Economic Case for Immigration Restrictions; 4. Immigration's Impact on Productivity; Part II. Cross-Country Evidence: 5. Immigration's Impact on Economic Institutions; 6. Immigration's Impact on Corruption; 7. Immigration's Impact on Terrorism; 8. Immigration's Impact on Culture; Part III. Case Studies in Mass Immigration: 9. United States; 10. Israel; 11. Jordan; Part IV. Assessing the New Economic Case for Immigration Restrictions: 12. Conclusion; Bibliography; About the Authors.
show more

Review quote

'This book tackles the most important academic question confronting recommendations for 'free labor' - whether too much of a good thing at the margin becomes a bad thing. The book consolidates all of the existing research - and then adds more, and then adds more, and then adds even more. It will be a standard work on this question for some time.' Lant Pritchett, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford 'Read this penetrating analysis of immigration and see why there is still a case for the wealth creating powers of the free movement of people as well as goods in international trade. If people don't cross borders, we will be less prosperous.' Vernon Smith, Chapman University and 2002 Nobel Laureate in Economics 'Many thinkers fear the effect of immigration on our policies, our democracy, and our liberty, but barely anyone tries to actually measure these effects. Wretched Refuse? does just this with skill, care, and calm - and ends up being the best book ever written on this subject. Combining a thorough review of past research with much original social science, Nowrasteh and Powell conclude that the immigration pessimists are paranoid. The political effects of immigration have been benign for centuries, and remain so today.' Bryan Caplan, George Mason University and co-author of the New York Times best-selling Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration 'In Wretched Refuse?, Alex Nowrasteh and Ben Powell consider - and ultimately reject - the claim that immigrants import ill-suited institutions from their home countries, thereby undermining economic growth. In this clear-eyed treatment, the authors bring a wealth of evidence to bear, both modern and historical, that, if anything, immigrants are transformed by their adoptive societies and support rising productivity. This lucid volume should be of interest to economists and policy makers interesting in designing smart immigration policy.' Leah Boustan, Princeton University 'Wretched Refuse? takes head-on the claim that the direct economic benefits of immigration are offset by indirect costs such as corruption, terrorism or the erosion of cultural norms. With careful empirical analysis, looking both across countries and at case studies, Nowrasteh and Powell show convincingly that there is little or no evidence to substantiate such fears. This is a timely and important contribution to the broader economic case for liberalising immigration policy.' Jonathan Portes, King's College London '... highly original, and takes a chainsaw to the most intellectually respectable case against immigration ... they demolish a big argument against existing levels of immigration, and suggest that most rich countries would benefit from being more open. Mr Biden and his advisers should devour their book.' The Economist
show more

About Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh is the director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. He is a native of Southern California and received a BA in economics from George Mason University and his MSc in economic history from the London School of Economics. Nowrasteh is one of the most commonly cited experts on immigration policy in the United States. His research has been cited widely in the press and he is the author of numerous opinion pieces that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, and most other major publications in the United States. He also regularly appears on Fox News, MSNBC, Bloomberg, National Public Radio, and numerous television and radio stations across the United States. His peer-reviewed academic publications have appeared in the World Bank Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Economic Affairs, the Fletcher Security Review, the Journal of Bioeconomics, and Public Choice. Benjamin Powell is the Executive Director of the Free Market Institute and a Professor of Economics in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University and a Senior Fellow with the Independent Institute. He is the secretary-treasurer of the Southern Economic Association and the Association of Private Enterprise Education. He earned his BS in economics and finance from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and his MA and PhD in economics from George Mason University. Powell is the author of Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy (Cambridge, 2014), coauthor of Socialism Sucks: Two Economists Drink Their Way through the Unfree World (2019), and editor or coeditor of four other books, including The Economics of Immigration: Market-Based Approaches, Social Science, and Public Policy (2015). He is the author of more than seventy-five scholarly articles and policy studies. Powell's research findings have been reported in hundreds of popular press outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He also writes frequently for the popular press. His popular writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, New York Post, the Dallas Morning News, and many other outlets. He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, Showtime, and CNBC, and he was a regular guest commentator on Fox Business's Freedom Watch and Stossel.
show more

Rating details

13 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 31% (4)
4 46% (6)
3 23% (3)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X