Monday Smackdown/Hoisted: Remember Richard Cheney?
Globalization: Some Fairly-Recent Must- and Should-Reads

In my view, successful economic communication of facts in a useful way starts with an anecdote—about, say, Cosette—which is then followed by "Cosette's experiences are typical", and then the numbers. But that is not how we economists talk. So even the best of us do not... get the mindshare that our ideas and our expertise deserve: Stefanie Stantcheva: The Fog of Immigration: "Surveyed 22,500 native-born respondents from France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK, and the US. We concluded that much of the political debate about immigration takes place in a world of misinformation...

...On average, the survey respondents in the study believed that there are between two and three times as many immigrants in their respective countries as there actually are. US natives think that legal immigrants make up 36% of the population, yet the real share is just... 13.5%.... In Germany, France, Italy, and the UK... the actual share of immigrants ranges from 10-15%, but respondents’ estimations averaged around 30%.... Respondents... also had a false sense of where most immigrants come from, what religion they follow, and how much they contribute to the economy.... In the US, native-born respondents tend to think that Muslims constitute 23% of the immigrant population while Christians make up just 40%. In reality, 61% of immigrants in the US are Christian, and 10% are Muslim.... Immigrants are believed to be poorer, less educated, more likely to be unemployed, and more reliant on government transfers than is actually the case.... US respondents thought that 37% of the poor are immigrants, though just 12% are....

For the US, the Hamilton Project finds that, “Taxes paid by immigrants and their children–both legal and unauthorized–exceed the costs of the services they use.” This makes sense, given that the US receives a large share of highly skilled immigrants.... Added dynamism from immigration is not new.... Immigrants... constituted a disproportionately large share of inventors during America’s “Golden Age” of innovation....

Most people tend to be mistaken about immigration. But it is worth noting that some are far more misinformed than others. Generally speaking, non-college-educated citizens, supporters of right-wing political parties, or those with lower levels of educational attainment who work in immigration-intensive sectors have a greater negative bias in their perceptions of immigrants. On the other hand, people who are acquainted or friends with an immigrant have both more positive and more accurate perceptions.... The widespread confusion about immigration across Western democracies has real-world consequences....

We found that giving respondents the facts about the number and origins of immigrants did not increase their support for redistribution, but that showing them just the anecdote of a hard-working immigrant did. This indicates that attitudes toward redistribution are strongly influenced by one’s views about the perceived “deservingness” of the poor....

Integrating immigrants into labor markets and creating peaceful, functioning multi-ethnic societies is ultimately the job of politics. But for our politics to work, we first must make sure that we are all working with the facts–not myths and misperceptions.


#shouldread

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