Daily Office: Vespers
Wednesday, 16 February 2011

David Leonhardt‘s piece on the importance of cities generally and the impact of de-urbanization on Egypt in particular climaxes with an eye-popping figure.

A 35-year-old urban Egyptian man with a high school education who moves to the United States can expect an incredible eightfold increase in living standards, the researchers found. Immigrants from only two countries, Yemen and Nigeria, receive a larger boost. In effect, these are the countries with the biggest gap between what their workers can produce in a different environment and what they are actually producing at home.

No wonder 19 percent of Egyptians told Gallup (well before the protests) that they would move to another country if they could. Mr. Clemens says that for every green card the United States awarded in a recent immigration lottery, 146 Egyptians had applied

So one of the tasks facing Mr. Mubarak’s successors will be creating places within Egypt where Egyptians want to move, much as Indian workers have flowed into Bangalore and Brazilian workers have flowed into Rio.