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Immigration to the Land of Redistribution

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  • Tito Boeri

Abstract

Negative perceptions about migrants in Europe, the Continent with the largest social policy programmes, are driven by concerns that foreigners are a net fiscal burden. Increasing concerns are pressing Governments, in the midst of the recession, to reduce welfare access by migrants or further tighten migration policies. Are there politically feasible alternatives to these two hardly enforceable (and procyclical) policy options? In this paper we look at economic and cultural determinants of negative perceptions about migrants in Europe. Based on a simple model of the perceived fiscal effects of migration and on a largely unexploited database (EU-Silc), we find no evidence that legal migrants, notably skilled migrants, are net recipients of transfers from the state. However, there is evidence of residual dependency on contributory transfers and self-selection migrants more likely to draw on welfare in the countries with the most generous welfare state. Moreover, those favouring redistribution to the poor do not overlap with those considering migrants as part of the same community. A way out of the migration dilemma facing Europe involves i. co-ordinating safety nets across the EU, and ii. adopting explicitly selective migration policies. Other options involve restricting welfare access by migrants and subsidising voluntary return migration of low-skilled migrants during the recession.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics / European Institute in its series Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) with number 5.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:erp:leqsxx:p0005

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Web page: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/europeanInstitute

Related research

Keywords: immigration policy; welfare state; fiscal policy;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel & Stephan L. Thomsen, 2009. "Right-Wing Extremism and the Well-Being of Immigrants," CESifo Working Paper Series 2841, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini, 2013. "The Fiscal Effects of Immigration to the UK," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1322, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  3. Michele Battisti & Gabriel Felbermayr & Giovanni Peri & Panu Poutvaara, 2014. "Immigration, Search, and Redistribution: A Quantitative Assessment of Native Welfare," NBER Working Papers 20131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Peter Huber & Doris A. Oberdabernig, 2013. "Does migration threaten the sustainability of European welfare states?," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 21, WWWforEurope.
  5. Alessandra Casarico & Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "What Drives Immigration Amnesties?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3981, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Tim Hatton & Joseph P. Ferrie, 2014. "Two Centuries of International Migration," CEH Discussion Papers 23, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  7. Timothy J. Hatton, 2014. "The Slump and Immigration Policy in Europe," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1401, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  8. Akay, Alpaslan & Constant, Amelie F. & Giulietti, Corrado, 2012. "The Impact of Immigration on the Well-Being of Natives," IZA Discussion Papers 6630, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Paweł Kaczmarczyk, 2013. "Are immigrants a burden for the state budget? Review paper," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/79, European University Institute.
  10. Betz, William & Simpson, Nicole B., 2013. "The Effects of International Migration on the Well-Being of Native Populations in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 7368, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2013. "‘Because She Never Let Them In’: Irish Immigration a Century Ago and Today," Working Papers 201319, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  12. Alessandra Casarico & Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Spending more is spending less: on the desirability of enforcing migration," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012006, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  13. Giulietti, Corrado & Wahba, Jackline, 2012. "Welfare Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 6450, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Peter Huber & Doris A. Oberdabernig, 2014. "Decomposing Welfare Wedges. An Analysis of Welfare Dependence of Immigrants and Natives in Europe," WIFO Working Papers 459, WIFO.
  15. Ian Preston, 2013. "The Effect of Immigration on Public Finances," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1323, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  16. Alessandra Casarico & Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Spending More is Spending Less: Policy Dilemmas on Irregular Migration," Development Working Papers 330, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano, revised 27 Mar 2012.

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