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***I calculated this wrong. This was the only number I took the liberty of calculating and it blew it up in my big dumb face. So let’s go to the data and see why I scored a 1030 on my SATs.
During the talk I used the Brookings data, but for our discussion here let’s use Borjas’ Labor Economics textbook. (pg. 35 -http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/gborjas...)
Here he has a short run loss of wages to high school dropouts of 8.3% and a long run loss of 4.8%. This comes from data between 1980-2000. Where I got lost was in the quote, “…with the average wage of high school dropouts falling by about 5%...” (again I used the Brookings numbers in the talk, which had 4.7% fixed over sixteen years. Below I'll be ignoring the short run loss as described in the textbook so you can better understand how my liberal-arts-math lead to an error in calculation):
I took minimum wage for a year ($15,080) and I assumed by “falling” he meant that at the end of twenty years we’d see a reduction in those wages by 4.8%, meaning our new salary would be $14, 356. And because I thought we reached this difference over twenty years I divided the difference ($723.84) by 20 and got my answer, which here would be $36.20.
But as Prof. David Henderson was kind enough to point out to me over the phone, that’s wrong. (You can read his critique here:http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2...) What we’re talking about are average wages. So you’d total all the yearly wages up, divide by 20 to get your average, and then multiply that by 4.8%. Now we’re left with $723.84.
Had I calculated this correctly the first time, I would have instantly starting campaigning for Trump. Kidding. I certainly would have presented the correct information and also made more of an effort to highlight other economists like Card, Ottaviano, Peri (people I only mention in passing), who come to vastly different conclusions about the wage impact on high-school dropouts: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14188. It also wouldn’t change the premise of the talk: that increasing immigration would be the largest and most effective anti-poverty campaign in the world-- so where we do find costs we should work on finding solutions to those costs that does not involve slamming the clubhouse door closed.
Nevertheless, I’m completely embarrassed by this error and I offer my full apologies to the viewer.
Disclaimer: I do not discuss Syrian refugees. This talk primarily addresses the economic concerns surrounding immigration that have existed before the Paris attacks, and that will continue to exist long after the Syrian crisis ends.
A lot of questions in the Q&A revolved around the Brain Drain. Michael Clemens speaks to this concern more eloquently than I ever can, so please watch him here.
I'm generally an idiot, so everything I discuss comes from the work of people far more intelligent than myself. I tried, as best I could, to present their research and/or arguments as accurately as possible. Predominantly I pull from the work of Michael Clemens, Lant Pritchett, Bryan Caplan, Alex Nowrasteh, Philipee Legrain, William Easterly, and Gordon Hanson.
Although many friends and family members helped by critiquing multiple drafts of this talk, two people deserve special mention:
Chris O’Connor devoted an enormous amount of time helping me work through the structure of the show; without his insight and wit the talk would have been a scatter-brained, hour long screed. He also hosted the show and was absolutely hilarious. Watch his set here.