Egypt fact of the day

by on February 16, 2011 at 7:29 am in Current Affairs, Economics | Permalink

From David Leonhardt:

Just as important as the skills deficit, however, is the trouble that many Egyptians have using their skills in the country’s sclerotic economy. Three researchers – Michael Clemens, Lant Pritchett and Claudio Montenegro – recently found a novel way to measure how well various countries use the workers they have. The three compared the wages of immigrants to the United States with the wages of similar workers from the same country who remained home.

A 35-year-old urban Egyptian man with a high school education who moves to the United States can expect an incredible eightfold increase in living standards, the researchers found. Immigrants from only two countries, Yemen and Nigeria, receive a larger boost. In effect, these are the countries with the biggest gap between what their workers can produce in a different environment and what they are actually producing at home.

The article is interesting throughout.

1 josh February 16, 2011 at 4:44 am

Hey, I have a great idea. Maybe, now that Egpyt has achieved democracy(TM) the international community can employ hundreds or even thousands of experts in economics, political science, sociology, grass-growing, and bikini-inspecting to advise the Egyptian people how to become awesome like us. I warn in advance, if it doesn't work, we may have to double down and employ even more experts (but don't worry, I'm sure it will work. They are *experts* after all. They know science and stuff). Also, we may have to fund some of the programs that our experts come up with, but don't worry, it will pay for itself, in *justice*.

Anyway, just throwing it out there. I wonder if anyone has thought of this idea before. I mean, opportunities like this don't come along every day. It's not like anyone can cause a revolution to happen. That has to come from change in popular opinion, formation of opposition groups who know they can win, etc. Wait, actually that gives me another idea…

2 Lord February 16, 2011 at 5:59 am

Is this independent of the gdp difference between the countries? Does it even exist?

3 Right Wing-nut February 16, 2011 at 6:11 am

I actually considered doing oil field work in Saudi to get some quick cash together when I was leaving the military, so yes. No "immigrant vigor" about it. I was looking at improving my situation in the most painless way possible.

I do find it interesting, however, that the US is held up as the gold standard in such a measure. Exactly why should we adopt the European model for anything again?

4 Alex H February 16, 2011 at 7:50 am

Josh: It seems you're saying something interesting, but I have no idea what it is… Help a moron out: what's your point?

5 Brett February 16, 2011 at 9:54 am

I actually considered doing oil field work in Saudi to get some quick cash together when I was leaving the military, so yes. No "immigrant vigor" about it. I was looking at improving my situation in the most painless way possible.

I've considered doing that as well. One of my father's friends did that for three years, and earned a six-figure amount, tax-free.

6 Steve Sailer February 16, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Cairo and Mexico City are like Yogi Berra's restaurant: both got so crowded that nobody went there anymore.

You may recall predictions in the 1970s and early 1980s that Mexico City would grow to 30 million people. Well, that didn't happen. The place got too awful, so Mexicans went to the U.S. instead.

Egypt's big problem is, that despite a sharp decline in birthrates, its total fertility rate is still 3.23, 50% more than the replacement rate. As realtors like to say, they ain't making any more land watered by the Nile.

7 Steve Sailer February 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Leonhardt's stat is misleading. There's no mass migration to the U.S. from Egypt to allow a representative sample. Most high school graduate Egyptians who move to the U.S. are from well above the social mean in Egypt. They're often family reunification immigrants who are, say, siblings of doctors or executives who had earlier moved to the U.S.

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