Understanding the Immigrant–Trade Link
Chapter 3: Immigration Policy, Economic Development and the Immigrant–Trade Link: The Case of the White Australia Policy
3 Immigration policy, economic development and the immigrant– trade link: The case of the White Australia Policy In recent decades, the Australian economy has increasingly integrated into the global economy. The rise in the intensity of trade and factor flows between Australia and the rest of the world provides strong evidence. For example, in 1970, Australia’s exports and imports combined were equal to only 26.1 percent of its GDP; however, by 2000 this value had risen to 45.9 percent. Similarly, during this same time period the sum of Australia’s foreign direct investment inflows and outflows as a share of GDP nearly doubled from 2.4 to 4.4 percent. Coincidentally, while the proportion of Australia’s population that was foreign-born increased marginally from 19.9 to 21.3 percent (World Bank, 2006) the ethnic composition of its immigrant inflows underwent a dramatic shift. Namely, the share of immigrants from countries located in Asia (particularly Southeast Asia) and in the Pacific Islands increased considerably while the proportion from European countries decreased. For example, 80.1 percent of the increase in Australia’s foreign-born population during the 1990s was due to immigrant arrivals from Asia and the Pacific. Since a country’s cultural identity can be described as an amalgam of its population’s attitudes, customs and beliefs, it follows that a country’s immigration policy may influence its cultural identity and, by doing so, affect its trade flows. Given the associated policy relevance, establishing a more accurate account of the immigrant–trade relationship is beneficial. In this context, and given the...
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