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Immigration as a commitment device

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  • Alexander Kemnitz

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Abstract

This paper shows that the toleration of immigrants who are on average less skilled than natives can be part of a support-maximizing government policy, despite a general political bias in favor of the poor. We make this point in a simple model with redistributive unemployment insurance. Once wage contracts are binding, the government has an incentive to increase the unemployment benefit, leading to excessive unemployment. Affecting the political balance within the constituency, immigrants can serve as a commitment device against this time-inconsistency. We show that this possibility can be greatly promoted by restrictions on political naturalization.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 299-313

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:19:y:2006:i:2:p:299-313

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Related research

Keywords: Immigration; Welfare state; Democracy; Time inconsistency; D72; F22; J68;

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  1. Alexander Kemnitz, 2002. "On the Political Economy of Low Skilled Immigration and the Welfare State," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 423-434, August.
  2. Mazza, Isidoro & van Winden, Frans, 1996. " A Political Economic Analysis of Labor Migration and Income Redistribution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 88(3-4), pages 333-63, September.
  3. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Swagel, Phillip, 2002. "Tax burden and migration: a political economy theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 167-190, August.
  4. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1999. "Gerontocracy, retirement, and social security," Economics Working Papers 383, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Kemnitz, Alexander, 2003. "Unemployment, Technology and the Welfare Effects of Immigration," Discussion Papers 611, Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre.
  6. Clemens Fuest & Marcel Thum, 1999. "Welfare Effects of Immigration in a Dual Labor Market," CESifo Working Paper Series 215, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
  8. Clemens Fuest & Marcel Thum, 1999. "Immigration and Skill Formation in Unionised Labour Markets," CESifo Working Paper Series 214, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. George E. Johnson, 1997. "Changes in Earnings Inequality: The Role of Demand Shifts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 41-54, Spring.
  10. Paola Profeta, 2002. "Retirement and Social Security in a Probabilistic Voting Model," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 331-348, August.
  11. Bauer, Thomas K. & Lofstrom, Magnus & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2000. "Immigration Policy, Assimilation of Immigrants and Natives' Sentiments towards Immigrants: Evidence from 12 OECD-Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Assar Lindbeck & J├Ârgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  13. Casarico, Alessandra & Devillanova, Carlo, 2003. "Social security and migration with endogenous skill upgrading," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(3-4), pages 773-797, March.
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