Farmers in high-income countries invest in the political process to gain access to foreign workers, with potentially far-reaching social welfare ramifications both at home and abroad. This review examines the unique features of the farm labor market that result in an intimate relationship between some types of agricultural production and migration policy. A theoretical model and Monte Carlo simulations are used to illustrate the farm labor problem. The agricultural labor history of the United States and comparisons of experiences across countries reveal a diversity of policies to secure workers for farms through immigration. There are reasons, however, to question the sustainability of a labor-intensive agricultural system's dependence upon low-cost imported labor.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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