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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues



Watson, a Kenan Institute Distinguished Fellow, will discuss key findings from the economics literature and their implications for where to focus immigration reform efforts.

Immigration is one of the most contentious policy issues, and Congress has for decades failed to make any significant legislative progress. The result is an incoherent policy landscape and serious operational challenges on the ground. At the same time, immigration and immigrant integration are critical to U.S. workforce growth, government fiscal solvency, and innovation. I discuss key findings from the economics literature and their implications for where to focus immigration reform efforts.

As part of our 2023 grand challenge, we survey factors such as demographics, health trends, immigration and childcare that are essential to understanding the dynamics now at play regarding the supply of workers in the labor force.

Immigrant inventors produce more patents than native U.S. citizens, among other key findings, according to a new Entrepreneurship Center and Kenan Institute report.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has recently ramped up efforts to keep immigrants from entering the country and force out some who are already here – arguing these to be necessary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect American jobs. However, in this Kenan Insight, we summarize why these policies risk having exactly the opposite effect, harming the future health, social well-being and economic viability of our nation.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Within two months, nearly half a million people fled hard-hit New York City. Will they return once the crisis has passed? In this Kenan Insight, we explore how the ongoing pandemic is raising questions about the future attractiveness of large cities as places to live and do business.

Immigrants are once again the targets of draconian policymaking. It is during the COVID-19 pandemic this time. Through a series of presidential proclamations and other executive branch maneuvers, the Trump Administration is attempting to leverage a host of so-called migration management tools to ban entry and force some immigrant to leave the country—all under the guise of containing the spread of the coronavirus and protecting American jobs.

In recent months, mechanisms that have allowed for high-skilled foreign nationals to study and work in the U.S. have been put on the policy chopping block. In this Kenan Insight, we discuss why high-skilled foreign workers are critical to America's economic health, and why policies must continue to support their entry into the U.S.

Our goal in this report is to assess the demographic and economic impacts of immigrants or the foreign-born on North Carolina regions, counties, and communities as well as The State as a whole.