Economics can overcome prejudice | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Economics can overcome prejudice

  • Published: | Viewed: 935 | Comments: 0
  • Newspaper section: News
  • Writer: Anu Bradford
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Almost immediately after the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings were revealed to be immigrants, opponents of immigration reform in the United States seized on the case to highlight the danger of adopting a more open approach to the issue. 

The role of fear _ fuelled and manipulated by political interests, nationalist sentiment and religious intolerance _ in shaping the immigration debate is not exclusive to the US. To be effective and persuasive, however, such fear often requires a rational, seemingly credible argument.

That is why resistance to immigration so often relies on a common misperception that it has a profound and perverse economic impact on both source and destination countries. Migrants are believed to impose a fiscal burden on destination countries' welfare systems or to take their citizens' jobs. Meanwhile, source countries fear a "brain drain" as their most productive citizens seek better opportunities elsewhere.

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