An overall policy involves a holistic approach is solving the problems at hand. Several countries have unique problems identical to their geographic position. Policymakers must devise policies that can address issues that are critical to the survival of living things. Economists use the computable model as the most preferable method to use in the analysis of regional problems and come up with a comprehensive policy. In this research paper, I will look at two main countries on factors they considered when devising their policies, is the immigration policy in the US and the Water reform policy in Australia.
Policy Formulation Approach
Policies are government strategic plans that are developed to address problems affecting its national economy. The main problems are associated with natural resource use, market dynamics, and social issues as a result of economic disparities. For example deforestation and land-use problems in Brazil, immigration problems in the United States of America, and water use in Australia. These countries have used different models to assess the problems, their impact, and their significance in the national economy.
Brazil where a large proportion of its land is under forest land is faced with the biggest challenge of ensuring that there is sustainable use of land and avoid further destruction of the forest. Factors compounding this are due to the rise in population and scarcity of resources. To understand how policies are developed one of the models noted by Cattaneo (2002) states that the computable general equilibrium model (CGE) is most effective to be used in developing regional policies that solve problems. This model can be adapted to suit specific areas and types of resources at different levels of management that is national and subnational levels.
CGE model is suitable for the application in determining such policies whereby it is characterized with geographic aggregation, time dimension, financial/real economy, market dynamics, and another factor/sector or household identities(Ericksen et al 2004). The CGE model considers several factors categorized into two. First, the policy objectives take account of welfare improvement, environmental damage, regional development, and international allocation. Two the model considers factors that are attributed to external shocks like exchange rate, natural disasters, and trade sanctions (Cattaneo 2002).
Policy objectives and external shocks play a crucial role in the formulation of any regional policy. These results in geographic aggregation in which studies concentrated on specific or interrelated problems such as interregional migration or trade liberalization in the global arena. A specific time frame is vital in assessing the policy because it gives the determining factor on how the policies formulated can absorb shocks at a given period, that is at the start or end of the shocks. The time factor is considered crucial because the mobility of the market and capital at the global levels affects each policy that is necessary to ensure the competitiveness and growth of a specific commodity or service (Cattaneo 2002).
Environmental externalities and the use of natural resources have direct implications on the modeling process of the policy. CGI model looks at how issues related to the environment and uses could shape policy issues (Asilis & Luis 2006). To consider their variables in terms of whether they are tradable or not, the risks associated with them, and the individual characteristics of the particular case give policymakers a broad background knowledge that generates a good policy that generates sustainable applications in this ever-changing world economies. Natural resources like the land that is stationary and scarce give policymakers big challenges to overcome threats from human activities such as deforestation, logging, unconventional agricultural practices, mining, water extraction for irrigation, and many more when developing policies (Cattaneo 2002).
I would give an analysis of how the factors have been applied in developing immigration policies in the United States of America and Australia in water reforms.
In the United States of America, foreign immigrants both legal and illegal have caused a significant impact on the American welfare state. Illegal immigration has over years changed over several years depending on the circumstances and legislation of the US federal government together with labor demands in the US agricultural sector and industrial sector. Over the recent years, illegal migration has risen by 30 percent. This began in the 1920s when the US started implemented legal restrictions on immigrants. One of the largest sources of immigrants to the US in Mexico. Immigrants from this country rose significantly during the 1960s when immigrations programs set up earlier on were halted. For instance, in 1902 New land Irrigation Act was made into law where it led to increased farmland. From 1911 to 1917 there was a Mexican agrarian revolution that forced peasant farmers out of their farms. It resulted in the loss of income hence they sought to live from somewhere else of which its neighbor was the best opinion. In 1917 US enacted the immigration Act that imposed literary tests and taxes on all immigrants making illegal labor movements from immigrants (Hanson et al 2001).
When World War one was over the United States increased its restriction on non-European immigrants except the European immigrants. It created the Border Patrol unit in 1924 that had a responsibility to enforce immigration rules. Great depressions in the economy of the US intensified immigration rules because of the rise in unemployment of its citizens. World war II labor shortages in the US hence encouraged immigrants to come to the US to work in the agricultural and associated industries (Hanson et al 2001).
In 1942 Bracero program was initiated by the US government which allowed Mexican migrants to work in the US temporarily. The government of the two countries negotiated for fair treatment of their citizens. This program because a heated debate in the US circles because of different reasons such as it prevents workers in the program to join trade unions. In 1964 the US government halted the program/.n therefore it made all legal and temporal immigrants be illegally staying or working in America (Hanson et al 2001).
As a result of such issues, immigration from the US has affected the situation of immigrants in Mexico. Several other events have shaped the movement of people from Mexico such as the economic crisis of Mexico, the debt crisis in Latin America of 1982, US Border enforcement Act passage of 1083, the passage of IRCA of 1986, the fall in Mexican currency (peso) exchange rate and increased operations of Border Patrol unit along the Mexico – US border (Hanson et al 2001).
Over this time America has developed policies that impact illegal immigrants that take restrictions such as quotas, access to public resources, indirect rewards expectation of illegal immigrants, border enforcement, and monitoring practices of employers in the US. The federal government of the US through the US Congress determines fund allocation to border patrolling exercises that also specify how funds are to be spent. Mexico has a 2000 mile distance of border link with its neighbor with part of it the roughest physical area, the desert. The enactment of IRCA and successive legislation increasing border patrols have contributed to increased attempts by immigrants to cross the border at different points including remote areas like in the State of Arizona (Hanson et al 2001).
Enforcement of these laws has indirectly generated unprecedented support from a few cliques of people that support illegal migration but risen sharp criticism from agricultural employers and politicians. Since agriculture is labor-intensive, foreign labor is usually cheap that employers prefer to hire them instead of the natives (Serra & Vladimir 2004).
Internal enforcement has also been done which targets employers in worksites and agriculturalists who employ unskilled labor. This has been difficult because of the small percentage of funds allocated to it as opposed to border patrols. Although border patrols have increased more immigrants have crossed and gained employment from US employers. Hence a focus has to be directed to this activity. Previously, periodic monitoring exercises have received opposition from political quarters, and that the government has placed little penalties on employers of illegal aliens. Even with several changes made in the legislation, there is still less provision to penalize such employers (Hanson et al 2001).
Similarly, the US has had a mall margin of temporal permits to immigrants to be able to replenish workers in these major industries. The proposals have been forwarded that seek to increase this proportion but it is yet to be implemented.
In this respect, we find several factors that have contributed to illegal migration to the US that affect the immigration policy of America. First, immigration patterns of recent times from Mexico and other parts of the world had changed significantly. Statistics indicate that the immigration status is now more heterogeneous, more females and males alike are migrating, unlike previous times where males dominated migrant population destined to work for manual work in the farms. This scenario has changed and current immigrants seem to be more educated and skilled seeking permanent settlement in the urban areas of the United States. This is also dependent on their origins taus of which a majority of them come from urban centers in Mexico (Hanson et al 2001).
Secondly, illegal migrations depend on the situation of Mexico’s economy especially on remuneration, wages, and salaries. If there is a decrease indication on either of these apprehension of illegal immigrants is recorded at the border. For instance, statistics show that a 10 percent decrease in Mexican wages results in about 8 percent of illegal immigrants apprehension. This is also in parallel correlation with wages rise in United States (Hanson et al 2001).
Third, border enforcement has not shown that it is effective in curbing illegal immigration but has stimulated high attempts of illegal border crossing. Research indicates that between 1970 and 1980 illegal border-crossing attempts rose by 35 percent and that the crossing by immigrants does not only occur at known border points but extends to remote areas also. Interestingly, an increase in border enforcement has a direct reflection on the increase in apprehension as well. This factor faces challenges in determining actual estimates of its effectiveness in deterring illegal migration. This is because there is a lot of concentration on specific areas that reduces when migrants know it but shift to other areas. Similarly, the enforcements have to adapt to changes in immigration border crossing behavior and composition (Hanson et al 2001).
Fourth, the enforcement effectiveness does not impact the neighboring US States negatively but it does to Mexico. The wages in the US States remain virtually constant or increase slightly with an increase in enforcement. This moderately affects workers with less education such as those high school dropouts and high school graduates that work in low-wage paying jobs.
Lastly, large enforcement exercise has received political pressure as well as from farmers. Political criticism has affected the strength of the government to enforce immigration laws. The statistic indicates that a decrease in patrols is correlated with high demand for cheap labor while the increase in patrols reflects low demand for labor (Hanson et al 2001).
The situation of immigrants has influenced immigration policies due to the expected and unexpected impacts associated with it. This is related to the use of public resources, welfare provisions, cost, fiscal input, and long-term impact on public resources. To begin with, public resources in the United States have been accessible to both the natives and aliens. However, research shows that between 1980 and 1990 provision of public assistance to immigrants and natives increased by 4 % and 1% respectively. This is associated with changes in immigrations status of origins requirements, faster assimilation by immigrants, education empowerment of immigrants, changes in composition, and networking by the immigrants through the exchange of information about welfare provision has impacted how public assistance is directed (Hanson et al 2001).
Secondly, the provision of welfare benefits from certain states such as California that is considered the most generous state has attracted a large proportion of immigrants. This indirectly affects the welfare conditions of neighboring states. This is not welcomed well with sections of the US public arguing that the provision of such benefit motivates insincere immigrants (Serra & Vladimir 2004)
Third, the federal government and local government have had to share the cost of public service provision concerning aliens and refugees. During earlier years before 1996, the US did not have adequate policies that reflect criteria for accessing public services. In the actual sense, immigrants had a similar opportunity as the natives. Other states provided programs to immigrants like learning the English language. But with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Recommendation Act of 1996 and the Balance Budget Act of 1997 changed the eligibility and funding criteria of immigrants. It specifies that from 1996 new immigrants cannot access public services until to definite time. Therefore welfare benefits will hardly be accessed by new immigrants (Hanson et al 2001).
Fourth, the impact of welfare transfers within and between states differs significantly because of the policies adopted by local governments. In some states, immigrants receive higher transfers than natives because of a large number of dependants. Most of these are children who attend public schools. Hence the disparity is felt significantly across the states (Hanson et al 2001).
Fifth, the long-term effects of immigration are yet to be determined but initial studies indicate that the fiscal contribution of immigrants depends on their status. For instance, young immigrants would benefit from welfare provision upon entry to the United States but will be a contributor in long run in later years. Since the composition of immigrants is ever-changing, fiscal policies will change as well, and that the highly educated immigrants tend to be net contributors than the less educated. This will eventually affect the political climate of the country (Auslin & Green 2007).
Lastly, migrants from foreign countries that are educated tend to be highly paid and receive generous social security support. This may not go well with the natives because they see the rich and current immigrants are favored. In contrast, the illegal immigrant’s contribution cannot be quantified due to a lack of data and effective monitoring measures (Hanson et al 2001).
Water Policy In Austarlia
Australia as a country has an abundant water resource supply but its policymakers are faced with challenges addressing how it should be used sustainably. This is because most of the water use, that is about 70% is used for agricultural purposes. The practices employed here pose great danger to the environment and economy of Australia. For instance, agricultural products account for about 15% of GDP. There are a couple of factors that are influencing this resource to be debated and a ‘good’ policy developed that can address the problems at hand.
For the policies to be developed several underlying factors were considered which include the irrigation trends, population distribution, contribution of the agriculture sector to the economy, water supply, geographical location, exchange rate, external policies, and environmental issues. Irrigation is a major agricultural practice that utilizes most of Australia’s water supply. This is because the country has deviated its energy to agriculture but faces challenges in converting vast semi-arid land to productive use. Most of the land is infertile and shallow. To this 60% is under agriculture including 5% under grasses and 5% under crops with the huge portion under grazing land. The agricultural sector is very important to its economy because primary and secondary agricultural activities account for 15% of GDP of which it employs 7% of the working population (Stringer & Witwer 2001).
Australia exports 80% of its agricultural products which is equivalent to 20% of all exports and that any changes occurring in the global market directly affect it. The abundant supply of water makes it a major exporter of agricultural products in the world-beating its competitors by far. For instance, the water supply in South Africa is 16 times less than in Australia. The geographical isolation of the continent and it’s highly concentrated urban population that only uses 1% of the land area makes it ideal for agriculture and less prone to pollution(Asilis & Luis 2006). This has made different territories adopt water reforms. Also, the exchange rate of the Australian dollar has motivated the expansion of irrigation to which grapes are grown. International and national policies affecting the agricultural sector have a direct impact on water use in Australia. This is similar to the situation in developing countries where water is scarce and threatens most of their citizen’s livelihood (Stringer & Witwer 2001).
In addition environmental concerns as a result of agricultural practices like extraction from groundwater, soil erosion, changing the course of river patterns have led to an increase in salinity levels and affected aquatic life. This is quite evident in the Murray Darling Basin where most irrigation is done and environmental effects pronounced. Murray Darling Basin accounts for 70 percent of irrigated areas and produces more than 90% of irrigated crops. Water destined for human use has been directed there and it is a major source of phosphate responsible for algal bloom in addition to nutrient load increase, salinity and decrease of wetland area and deterioration of river health (Stringer & Witwer 2001).
The reforms accompanied by water policies in the water sector have generated a new dimension of water resource management. Sustainable management tools have been enacted and market mechanisms enhanced. Research plays a critical role in ensuring sustainable use while market mechanisms such as the polluter pay principle and user-pay principle among others have contributed to new ways of management (Matulich 2001). Through the council of Australia Government (COAG) objectives of restoring ecological and biodiversity conservation are gaining attention from stakeholders. Thus COAG seeks to strengthen policies that are comprehensive to tackle all issues at hand. The reforms have also impacted the volume of water spent due to the cost of water and market dynamics. Most users especially farmers have devised technology that uses less water as well as a shift to investments that use less water. Therefore, policy development is necessary for achieving certain objectives to regional problems (Stringer & Witwer 2001).
From the above discussion on how factors affect policy formulation in countries in different regions. There are several considerations used to come up with a ‘good policy. This should reflect the problems at hand. The immigration policy in America largely depends on external and internal factors between the two countries. This is mainly caused by economic disparities between them and supply and demand factors in the labor market. In Australia changes in agricultural practices have affected the development of water policy. This is mainly due to irrigation trends. Thus policymakers need to take into consideration of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a particular problem in coming up with a comprehensive policy.
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