What Do We Know And What Should We Do About Immigration? by Jonathan Portes

The Blurb On The Back:

There is no blurb on the back and no quotes.

You can order What Do We Know And What Should We Do About Immigration? by Jonathan Portes from Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Jonathan Portes is Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King’s College London and in this book he looks at the economics of immigration, from its causes and impact to how the economic facts could influence policy in a post-Brexit world.  Unfortunately, the Brexit section is the weakest – mainly because events have moved since it was written – but it’s a must-read for the economic facts if you’re looking to inform yourself on this subject.

The book begins with a summary of waves of migration into the UK, which I thought gave a good summary of what’s happened in Britain – particularly the section dealing with free movement and the migration from the EU, which is set out clearly in terms of policy issues as well as economic ones and which reminded me of points that I had forgotten (including Cameron’s attempts to get changes prior to the Brexit referendum).  

The best chapter for me was the one on the economic effects of migration.  Portes writes about the myths and facts clearly and in a way that is easy to follow and understand.  The sections on the effects on wages and productivity are particularly good for anyone who wants to counter those arguments.  However, Portes does not discount the social and political elements of migration as important considerations, including perceived integration and perceptions of social cohesion and crime all getting a mention.  

Unfortunately, I found the chapter on what to do about immigration to be the weakest, not because I disagreed with the options presented but because Portes (quite fairly) tries to anticipate what immigration will look like in a post-Brexit Britain and given how fast-moving the policy changes have been on this recently, while his comments on matters such as points based immigration are pertinent, it also feels as if the debate has moved on somewhat since he wrote it, which makes it seem quite dated.

Despite this though, there’s a lot of interesting material here and I think that if you’re interested in the subject, then there’s a lot here that you’ll find useful.  

WHAT DO WE KNOW AND WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT IMMIGRATION was released in the United Kingdom on 1st July 2019.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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