Substitutability as default?

I’m jumping ahead of my own narrative, but why does it seem ingrained in people (including economists) that immigrants must be competing with native workers? Why is complementarity so much more unlikely in people’s priors?

We don’t have this bias when it comes to new technologies. In fact, we have the opposite bias. Despite the popularity of the phrase “creative destruction”, quality ladder models are much less common than expanding variety models of growth. Anyone who suggests there may be a negative externality of R&D in competitive industries gets jumped all over.

Can’t immigration be seen as a type of innovation? Immigrants bring more with them than their L.

3 thoughts on “Substitutability as default?”

  1. Like what? Immigrants are people just like you and me, so they’re gonna be working at the same jobs as you and me.

  2. ssendam, given our backgrounds and circumstances, you and I are about as close substitutes in the labor market as you can get. Are we close substitutes?

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