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Immigration, Citizenship, and the Size of Government

Listed author(s):
  • Ortega Francesc

    ()

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

I study the political sustainability of the welfare state in an environment where immigration is the main demographic force and where governments choose immigration policy. Voters anticipate their children's prospects of economic mobility and the future political consequences of today's policies. The skill distribution evolves due to intergenerational skill upgrading and immigration. I consider three regimes: permanent migration with citizenship granted by jus soli, permanent migration with jus sanguinis, and temporary migration. The main finding is that under permanent migration and jus soli there exists equilibria where redistribution is sustained indefinitely, despite constant skill upgrading. This is not the case in the other regimes. The crucial insight is that unskilled voters trade-off the lower wages from larger unskilled immigration with the increased political support for redistribution provided by the children of the current immigrants. These mechanisms are relevant for the ongoing debates over comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S, and elsewhere.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 10 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-40

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:26
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  1. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2004. "Why did the Elites Extend the Suffrage? Democracy and the Scope of Government, with an Application to Britain's "Age of Reform"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 707-765.
  2. Bertocchi, Graziella & Strozzi, Chiara, 2007. "The Evolution of Citizenship: Economic and Institutional Determinants," CEPR Discussion Papers 6066, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Francesc Ortega & Ryuichi Tanaka, 2007. "Gender specialization in households: An empirical analysis," Economics Working Papers 1021, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  4. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
  5. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Public Finance and Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Working Papers 524, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  6. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really so Bad?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 300-323, November.
  7. Fabio Canova & Morten Ravn, 2000. "The Macroeconomic Effects of German Unification: Real Adjustments and the Welfare State," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(3), pages 423-460, July.
  8. Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 510-530, August.
  9. David Card, 1997. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," NBER Working Papers 5927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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