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International labor markets are perhaps the last bastion of protectionism. We know that easing restrictions on the movement of people, especially the less skilled, can unleash huge welfare gains which by some estimates dwarf the gains from complete trade liberalization. And yet, progress on this front has been too slow.
In attending the numerous conferences and events on this topic I’ve come away frustrated by how we haven’t been able to move the discussion forward in effective ways and struck by the consistency of certain ways of thinking that just keep pulling us back.
To be able to really move forward we need to put our intellectual and convening powers towards facilitating the death of three long held views and then become matchmakers in facilitating a wedding ceremony.