An Argument for Guest Worker Programs

Public Affairs Quarterly 24 (1):21-38 (2010)
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Several noted economists and prominent international organizations have recently advocated for the implementation of guest worker programs in developed states. Their primary argument is that guest worker programs would serve as a powerful mechanism for reducing global poverty and inequality. For example, economist Dani Rodrik estimates that guest worker programs in wealthy states would generate $200 billion or more annually for poor countries. According to Rodrik, liberalizing the temporary movement of workers would “produce the largest possible gains for the world economy and for poor countries in particular,” in comparison with other policies, such as trade liberalization

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Javier Hidalgo
University of Richmond


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