Alex Nowrasteh

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Alexander "Alex" Nowrasteh is an analyst of immigration policy currently working at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank located in Washington D.C. Nowrasteh is an advocate of freer migration to the United States.[1] He previously worked as the immigration policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, another libertarian think tank.[2]

In January 2013, ABC News listed Nowrasteh as #15 on a list of top 20 immigration experts to follow on Twitter in the United States.[3] In July 2013, The National Journal magazine ran a feature in its print edition about Nowrasteh entitled "The Libertarian Case," that featured an interview and discussion of immigration.[4] An article in American Renaissance listed Alex Nowrasteh as a prominent libertarian advocate of free migration, alongside Anthony Gregory, Walter Block, Alvaro Vargas Llosa, and Jesus Huerta de Soto.[5]

Early life

Alex Nowrasteh was born and raised in Southern California to Cyrus Nowrasteh (a filmmaker, famous for the Path to 9/11 miniseries) and his wife Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh (who has collaborated with Cyrus on some of his film projects). Alex completed a B.A. in economics from George Mason University and a M.Sc. in economic history from the London School of Economics where he authored a dissertation about the economics of counter-insurgency strategy.[1]


Publications related to immigration

Nowrasteh has argued in favor of expanded opportunities for legal migration to the United States. He has argued both for expanded guest worker programs[6] and for immigration tariffs[7] as two ways to move the United States closer to open borders.

In September 2012, Cato published a policy analysis by Nowrasteh that argued that immigration crackdowns in Arizona had adversely affected the state's economy.[8] In January 2013, Cato published another policy analysis by Nowrasteh that suggests numerous ways for Congress to reform America's guest worker visa programs.[6] In July 2013, Nowrasteh co-authored another policy analysis explaining how the federal government could deny welfare benefits to non-citizens as an acceptable compromise for allowing more legal immigration.[9]

Nowrasteh also did in-depth academic research on the relation between immigration and the welfare state in the United States. A paper by him on the subject in collaboration with George Mason University doctoral student Zachary Gochenour was published as a Cato working paper in January 2014.[10] The paper claimed to find that immigration to the United States appeared to have not had a significant impact on the welfare state viewed in either per capita or aggregate terms. The authors summarized their findings and the policy implications in an op-ed for Investors Business Daily.[11] Bryan Caplan blogged about the paper on EconLog,[12] and Ilya Somin discussed the policy implications of the research in an article for the Washington Post.[13]

In April 2013, Nowrasteh wrote a blog post critical of a 2007 study conducted by Robert Rector and published by the Heritage Foundation that attempted to estimate the long-term fiscal impact of various immigration policies.[14] Nowrasteh's post significantly delayed the release of Heritage's updated study and placed it under severe scrutiny by academics and other policy analysts – substantially diminishing its influence.[15] On the day of the publication of the Heritage report (May 6, 2013), Nowrasteh participated in a press call strongly critiquing the study, along with people from Americans for Tax Reform, the Kemp Foundation, and the American Action Network.[16] Nowrasteh also wrote a blog post with further criticism of the Heritage study[17] which was picked up by other websites.[18] In June 2013, Nowrasteh debated Rector in front of closed door member meetings at the Republican Study Committee and the Republican Policy Committee as well as live on CSPAN's Washington Journal.[19][20]

In May 2014, the Cato Institute published a working paper co-authored by Nowrasteh (along with J. R. Clark, Robert Lawson, Benjamin Powell, and Ryan Murphy) on the impact of immigration on institutions.[21] The paper was later published by the journal Public Choice in April 2015.[22]

Nowrasteh has also written web memos and blog posts critical of publications by US-based restrictionist groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies[23][24] and the Federation for American Immigration Reform.[25] Nowrasteh wrote two blog posts critical of the views on immigration expressed by economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell.[26][27] The blog posts were praised and critiqued by David R. Henderson on EconLog.[28]

Other publications

Nowrasteh has co-authored two academic papers that appeared in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. The first with Benjamin Powell and Ryan Ford was an analysis of how Somalia's economy functioned in a stateless society.[29][30] The second was co-authored with Professor Pete Leeson of George Mason University and is about the economics of ransom bonds, a peculiar financial instrument used in piracy during the Napoleonic Wars.[31]

Nowrasteh has also co-authored an academic paper on privateers with Alex Tabarrok that appeared in the Fletcher Security Review and another academic paper about the impact of immigration on economic freedom that appeared in the journal Public Choice.[32][33] The latter had numerous co-authors.

Media appearances and commentary

Written media

Nowrasteh has been a blogger/guest contributor for the Huffington Post[34] and for Forbes magazine.[35] In addition, he has written pieces for National Journal[36] and Reuters.[37] Nowrasteh has also been quoted as an expert in mainstream press pieces on immigration.[38]

TV and radio

Nowrasteh has appeared on many TV and radio shows (including Bloomberg TV and Fox Business Network) to offer his views on immigration and his reactions to specific immigration reform proposals.[39] In May 2013, Nowrasteh appeared on the Real News segment of The Blaze defending a radical vision of near-open borders (with exceptions for people with criminal records, high risk of terrorism, and dangerous communicable diseases), focused mostly on the United States.[40]

On June 23, 2013, Nowrasteh appeared on C-SPAN debating Robert Rector on the immigration legislation under consideration at the time in the United States Congress.[19] On July 26, 2013, a Cato Institute panel event about the economics of migration, moderated by Nowrasteh and featuring Michael Clemens, Ethan Lewis, and Madeline Zavodny was broadcast on C-SPAN.[41][42][43]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Alex Nowrasteh". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2013-01-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Alex Nowrasteh". Competitive Enterprise Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "20 Immigration Experts To Follow on Twitter". ABC News. 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Terris, Ben (2013-07-13). "The Libertarian Case for Immigration Reform". National Journal. Retrieved 2013-10-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Cavanaugh, Gilbert (2013-10-11). "Libertarians and Race Realism". American Renaissance. Retrieved 2013-10-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Nowrasteh, Alex (2013-01-31). "How to Make Guest Worker Visas Work". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Nowrasteh, Alex (2012-02-07). "The Conservative Case for Immigration Tariffs". Competitive Enterprise Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Nowrasteh, Alex (2012-09-25). "The Economic Case against Arizona's Immigration Laws". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Gochenour, Zachary; Nowrasteh, Alex (January 15, 2014). "The Political Externalities of Immigration: Evidence from the United States". Cato Institute. Retrieved January 23, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Nowrasteh, Alex; Gochenour, Zachary (February 14, 2014). "No, Immigrants Won't Make Welfare State Bigger". Investors Business Daily. Retrieved February 18, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Caplan, Bryan (January 31, 2014). "Gochenour-Nowrasteh on the Political Externalities of Immigration". EconLog. Retrieved February 4, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Somin, Ilya (February 18, 2014). "Increased immigration is unlikely to increase the size of the welfare state". Washington Post. Retrieved February 18, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Nowrasteh, Alex (2013-04-04). "Heritage Immigration Study Fatally Flawed". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2013-04-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Rubin, Jennifer (2013-04-23). "Eight reasons for optimism on immigration reform". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-05-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Rubin, Jennifer (2013-05-06). "Conservative leaders slam Heritage for shoddy immmigration study". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-05-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Nowrasteh, Alex (2013-05-07). "Heritage's Flawed Immigration Analysis". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2013-05-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Adams, Becket (2013-05-08). "Here Are the 4 Toughest Criticisms a Libertarian Think Tank Had for the Heritage Immigration Analysis". TheBlaze. Retrieved 2013-05-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Alex Nowrasteh debates immigration with Robert Rector on C-SPAN's Washington Journal". Cato Institute. 2013-06-23. Retrieved 2013-06-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Alberta, Tim (Jule 25, 2013). "Who Is Robert Rector, Conservative Immigration Whisperer?". National Journal. Retrieved April 24, 2015. Check date values in: |date= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Clark, J. R.; Lawson, Robert; Nowrasteh, Alex; Powell, Benjamin; Murphy, Ryan (May 6, 2014). "Does Immigration Impact Institutions?" (PDF). Cato Institute. Retrieved April 24, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  23. Nowrasteh, Alex (2010-06-15). "A Drought of Reason and Investigation". Competitive Enterprise Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Nowrasteh, Alex (2012-11-02). "Immigrants Did Not Take Your Job". Cato Institute (blog). Retrieved 2013-05-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Nowrasteh, Alex (2011-10-25). "A FAIR Criticism". Competitive Enterprise Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Nowrasteh, Alex (2013-07-19). "Thomas Sowell on the Economics of Immigration". Cato Institute (blog). Retrieved 2013-07-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Nowrasteh, Alex (2013-07-22). "Thomas Sowell on Immigration". Cato Institute (blog). Retrieved 2013-07-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Henderson, David R. (2013-07-24). "Nowrasteh on Sowell on Immigration". EconLog. Retrieved 2013-07-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "Somalia after State Collapse: Chaos or Improvement?". Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. Powell, Benjamin (November 2006). "In Reply To Sweatshop Sophistries" (PDF). 28 (4). Human Rights Quarterly. Retrieved February 5, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. "Was Privateering Plunder Efficient?". Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. "Privateers! Their History and Future" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-05-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. "Does Immigration Impact Institutions?". Retrieved 2015-05-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "Alex Nowrasteh". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. "Alex Nowrasteh". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. Nowrasteh, Alex (2012-07-10). "Opinion: In Praise of Birthright Citizenship". National Journal. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Nowrasteh, Alex (2013-01-29). "Immigration Plan Does Only Half the Job". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. Bennett, Bryan (2013-01-21). "Republican allies advocate for immigration reform". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. "Multimedia: Alex Nowrasteh". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. "Alex Nowrasteh discusses immigration reform on The Blaze's Real News". 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-05-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  41. "Cato on Immigration". C-SPAN. 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2013-07-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. "What Economists Think About Immigration". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2013-07-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. Lee, John (2013-07-27). "Economists want more immigration, why don't you?". Open Borders: The Case. Retrieved 2013-07-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links