Ran Abramitzky and Leah Boustan

Jun 1, 2022

Streets of Gold

America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success

PublicAffairs 2022

In Streets of Gold: America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success (PublicAffairs, 2022), Ran Abramitzky and Leah Boustan reveal the true story of immigration and the American economy, debunking myths perpetuated by the media and inflamed by political rhetoric. Through this authoritative account of the historical record and important new findings, Abramitzky and Boustan will help shape our thinking and policies about the fraught topic of immigration with findings such as: 

  • ·Where you come from doesn't matter. The children of immigrants from El Salvador, Mexico, and Guatemala today are as likely to be as successful as the children of immigrants from Great Britain and Norway 150 years ago. 
  • ·Children of immigrants do better economically than children of those born in the U.S. – a pattern that has held for more than a century. ·The children of immigrants from nearly every country, especially children of poor immigrants, are more upwardly mobile than the children of US-born residents. 
  • ·Immigrants today, especially those from groups accused of lack of assimilation (such as Mexicans and those from Muslim countries) actually assimilate fastest. 
  • ·Immigration changes the economy in unexpected positive ways and staves off the economic decline that is the consequence of an aging population. 
  • ·Closing the door to immigrants harms the economic prospects of the U.S. born, the people politicians are trying to protect. More, not less, immigration will spur the American economy. 
  • ·Severe restrictions on immigration reduce innovation by blocking entry to future scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs. 

Using powerful story-telling and unprecedented research employing big data and algorithms, Abramitzky and Boustan are like dedicated family genealogists but millions of times over. They provide a new take on American history with surprising results, especially how comparable the "golden era" of immigration is to today, and why many current policy proposals are so misguided.

Javier Mejia is an economist teaching at Stanford University, whose work focuses on the intersection between social networks and economic history. His interests extend to topics on entrepreneurship and political economy with a geographical specialty in Latin America and the Middle East. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Los Andes University. He has been a Postdoctoral Associate and Lecturer at New York University--Abu Dhabi and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Bordeaux. He is a regular contributor to different news outlets. Currently, he is Forbes Magazine op-ed columnist.

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Javier Mejia

Javier Mejia is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Political Science Department at Stanford University.

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