Alex Nowrasteh

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Alex Nowrasteh
Alex Nowrasteh by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Nowrasteh in 2017
Born Alexander Nowrasteh
California, U.S.
Alma mater George Mason University
London School of Economics
Occupation Immigration policy analyst
Board member of Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity of the Cato Institute

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[edit]

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[edit]

A paper by Nowrasteh on the subject in collaboration with George Mason University doctoral student Zachary Gochenour found 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.[6] Ilya Somin discussed the policy implications of the research in an article for the Washington Post.[7]

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. It delayed the release of Heritage's updated study and placed it under severe scrutiny by academics and other policy analysts – substantially diminishing its influence.[8] 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.[9]

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. The paper was later published by the journal Public Choice in April 2015.[10]

On September 13, 2016, the Cato Institute published a "policy analysis" by Nowrasteh on "Terrorism and Immigration: A Risk Analysis."[11] He notes that, "Terrorism is a hazard to human life and material prosperity that should be addressed in a sensible manner whereby the benefits of actions to contain it outweigh the costs. ... [T]he chance of an American perishing in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil that was committed by a foreigner over the 41-year period studied here is 1 in 3.6 million per year."

Other publications[edit]

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.[12][13] 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.[14]

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.[15] The latter had numerous co-authors.

Media appearances and commentary[edit]

Written media[edit]

Nowrasteh has been a blogger/guest contributor for the Huffington Post[16] and for Forbes magazine.[17] In addition, he has written pieces for National Journal[18] and Reuters.[19] Nowrasteh has also been quoted as an expert in mainstream press pieces on immigration.[20]


  1. ^ a b "Alex Nowrasteh". Cato Institute. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  2. ^ "Alex Nowrasteh". Competitive Enterprise Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  3. ^ "20 Immigration Experts To Follow on Twitter". ABC News. 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  4. ^ Terris, Ben (2013-07-13). "The Libertarian Case for Immigration Reform". National Journal. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  5. ^ Cavanaugh, Gilbert (2013-10-11). "Libertarians and Race Realism". American Renaissance. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  6. ^ Nowrasteh, Alex; Gochenour, Zachary (February 14, 2014). "No, Immigrants Won't Make Welfare State Bigger". Investors Business Daily. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ Somin, Ilya (February 18, 2014). "Increased immigration is unlikely to increase the size of the welfare state". Washington Post. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  8. ^ Rubin, Jennifer (2013-04-23). "Eight reasons for optimism on immigration reform". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  9. ^ Rubin, Jennifer (2013-05-06). "Conservative leaders slam Heritage for shoddy immmigration study". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  10. ^ Clark, J. R.; Lawson, Robert; Nowrasteh, Alex; Powell, Benjamin; Murphy, Ryan. "Does immigration impact institutions?". Public Choice. 163: 321–335. doi:10.1007/s11127-015-0254-y. 
  11. ^ Nowrasteh, Alex (September 13, 2016), Terrorism and Immigration: A Risk Analysis (Policy Analysis) (798), Cato Institute, retrieved 2017-04-12 
  12. ^ "Somalia after State Collapse: Chaos or Improvement?". Journal of Economic Behavior. 67: 657–670. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2008.04.008. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  13. ^ Powell, Benjamin (November 2006). "In Reply To Sweatshop Sophistries" (PDF). 28 (4). Human Rights Quarterly. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Was Privateering Plunder Efficient?". Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  15. ^ "Does Immigration Impact Institutions?". Retrieved 2015-05-29. 
  16. ^ "Alex Nowrasteh". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  17. ^ "Alex Nowrasteh". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  18. ^ Nowrasteh, Alex (2012-07-10). "Opinion: In Praise of Birthright Citizenship". National Journal. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  19. ^ Nowrasteh, Alex (2013-01-29). "Immigration Plan Does Only Half the Job". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 
  20. ^ Bennett, Bryan (2013-01-21). "Republican allies advocate for immigration reform". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-02-01. 

External links[edit]