Hungary pulled out of a United Nations global agreement on migration on Wednesday, citing security concerns, just days after the accord was reached.
Hungary joined the United States as one of two United Nations members that are not committing to the agreement, the first of its kind to lay out international standards for countries to address migration.
As with “Germans shutting down immigration because they are tired of getting wealthier and enjoying lower crime rates?”, Hungary apparently doesn’t want to get richer and safer via immigration.
As a proud Econ 101 veteran (plus some graduate courses too!), I like market-based solutions to perceived problems. “If countries won’t take refugees for moral reasons, let’s give them financial incentives” is by a couple of law school professors, but it has an economics angle and sort of proposes a market.
What if we depended less on potential host nations’ humanitarian impulses, and instead created a system that appealed to their economic self-interest? What if nations’ perceived self-interest could be better aligned with the humanitarian needs of refugees?
We begin with three basic propositions: Countries that create refugees can and should pay a price for it, countries that take them in can and should be paid for it, and refugees can and should have a say in where they go. Those three principles suggest a possible solution: We would allow refugees to assert a financial claim against the governments that have persecuted them, and also—if they wish—to trade that claim (a kind of “refugee debt”) to a host nation, thereby lessening the economic resistance and giving them some control over their own fates.
Oddly, these guys assume that the price for a refugee should be negative rather than positive. Politicians tell us that even the lowest-skilled immigrants make existing citizens of a country way better off. Yet here these guys say that “countries that take them in can and should be paid for it”. Why should countries get paid to do something that is guaranteed to enrich them?
Readers: What do you know about this grand new U.N. solution and why Hungary and the U.S. are staying out?