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Unemployment Benefits and Immigration: Evidence from the EU

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  • Giulietti, Corrado
  • Guzi, Martin
  • Kahanec, Martin
  • Zimmermann, Klaus F

Abstract

The paper studies the impact of unemployment benefits on immigration. A sample of 19 European countries observed over the period 1993 to 2008 is used to test the hypothesis that unemployment benefit spending (UBS) is correlated with immigration flows from EU and non-EU origins. While OLS estimates reveal the existence of a moderate correlation for non-EU immigrants only, IV and GMM techniques used to address endogeneity issues yield, respectively, a much smaller and an essentially zero causal impact of UBS on immigration. All estimates for immigrants from EU origins indicate that flows within the EU are not related to unemployment benefit generosity. This suggests that the so-called 'welfare migration' debate is misguided and not based on empirical evidence.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8672.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8672

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Keywords: European Union; immigration; unemployment benefit spending; welfare magnets;

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  1. Assaf Razin & Effraim Sadka & Phillip Swagel, 1998. "Tax Burden and Migration: A Political Economy Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pedersen, Peder J. & Pytlikova, Mariola & Smith, Nina, 2008. "Selection and network effects--Migration flows into OECD countries 1990-2000," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1160-1186, October.
  3. Axel Heitmueller, 2002. "Unemployment Benefits, Risk Aversion, and Migration Incentives," CERT Discussion Papers 0207, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  4. Barrett, Alan & Maitre, Bertrand, 2011. "Immigrant Welfare Receipt across Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 5515, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Lubomira Anastassova & Teodora Paligorova, 2005. "Why Immigrants Manage to Grab More SocialBenefits? Empirical Cross - Country Analysis," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp263, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  6. Roberto Perotti & Massimo V. Rostagno & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "Electoral System and Public Spending," IMF Working Papers 01/22, International Monetary Fund.
  7. De Giorgi, Giacomo & Pellizzari, Michele, 2009. "Welfare migration in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 353-363, August.
  8. Cohen, Alon & Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 2009. "The Skill Composition of Migration and the Generosity of the Welfare State," CEPR Discussion Papers 7185, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. George J. Borjas, 1998. "Immigration and Welfare Magnets," NBER Working Papers 6813, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Nannestad, Peter, 2007. "Immigration and welfare states: A survey of 15 years of research," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 512-532, June.
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