Bryan Caplan  

The GiveWell-Clemens Brainstorm

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Call it the nobility summit: The noble charity evaluator GiveWell brainstorms with the noble immigration researcher Michael Clemens.  The highlight for me (Clemens speaking):
CITA is a non-profit organization in Yuma, AZ founded by Janine Duron, which aims to match Mexican farm workers with farms in the United States that need labor. CITA's mission is driven in large part by a desire to offer Mexican migrant workers a safer passageway to the United States than they would have if they were to be illegally smuggled into the United States. The smugglers (also known as "coyotes") smuggle workers in unsafe ways that can result in the workers' deaths.

While CITA has not been focused on the economic benefits of the program, those benefits have been very substantial. Each migrant makes roughly $10k for his or her work. CITA is bringing 1,000 migrants to the United States per year, so their total earnings are $10m. This is a very good return on the annual investment of $200k--‐ $300k that CITA spends.

My immediate thought: CITA could be the answer to my immigration charity question.  I want GiveWell to evaluate this organization, pronto.  Please, GiveWell?

HT: Open Borders

COMMENTS (2 to date)
happyjuggler0 writes:

I realize that your aim in this post was to highlight the anti-poverty effect for the immigrant workers.

However I want to gently remind that there are other gains as well for others. Obviously the farm owners gain from the friction reduction provided by CITA, not to mention the general gains from hiring the workers wherever they hire them from. It can't hurt to remind people you are trying to persuade that the beloved heroic American farmer gains from this transaction in a big way, and "we" don't need government(i.e. taxpayer) transfer payments to help them out in this case.

Consumers gain from cheaper, fresher, in-season local produce availability. It can't hurt to remind the sometimes irksome "locavores" of their gains from this transaction.

Tax receipts are higher in the localities that these farms are located (as well as federal tax receipts). This means either more spending for governments (some people think this is a good thing) or lower tax rates for everyone else in the community (or lower than they otherwise would have been over time anyway). It can't hurt to point out those tax gains, can it?

Not only do the locals gain from the tax effects, but the better off the farmers are financially, the more money they have to spend locally, or donate to local causes. Yet another gain for "us", or should I say US?

Not everyone gets the "warm fuzzies" from helping foreigners; indeed as you well know some people actually get incensed by it. May as well point out some of the selfish reasons to be in favor of these transactions.

Ghost of Christmas Past writes:

Once again price (wages offered) is neglected in the discussion of how foreign workers are "needed" because citizens won't apply for farm jobs. Yet we know that citizens will take agricultural jobs if the price is right-- look at the domestic cannabis industry.

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