Garret Jones has a new paper out — “National IQ and National Productivity: The Hive Mind Across Asia” — on national IQs. Here were his comments with regards to immigration:
In a recent paper, Putterman and Weil (2010) find that one can predict an economy’s GDP per capita relatively well by tracking where that nation’s citizens came from. Citizens whose families came from Western Europe or East Asia tend to live in economies that today are very wealthy (with the People’s Republic of China as a major exception). Whether we are speaking of Canada; Singapore or Taipei,China this is true. Putterman and Weil did not attempt to establish precisely what bundle of attributes it is that immigrants bring with them that so helps to drive economic outcomes in their destination economy, but average IQ is one natural possibility. After all, we’ve seen that national average IQ is little changed by massive changes in GDP per capita across East Asia in recent decades—at best perhaps increasing slightly more than the conventional Flynn Effect adjustment. The persistence of average IQ across generations gives reason for believing that whether national IQ is driven by genes, environment, culture, or some poorly understood combination of the three, a group’s average IQ will largely survive immigration to another economy. Even if scientists and public health officials quickly reach their limits in raising a person’s IQ—again, not a foregone conclusion—we still have a reliable tool for raising a nation’s IQ. Encourage immigration by individuals with higher average intelligence. Many countries implicitly do this by permitting high-skilled immigrants to enter and work legally. While it may be politically difficult to push for a high-average-IQ immigration policy, a high-skilled immigration policy that favors individuals with science and engineering degrees would accomplish much the same with almost none of the political difficulties. And if the political economy channels documented here are quantitatively important, then important parts of political life in these countries will, on average, improve as well.
As a more egalitarian minded individual, concerned about global inequality, I would favor exporting high IQ progressives to the many low IQ tropical countries.