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The Role of Immigration in Dealing with the Developed World's Demographic Transition

  • Hans Fehr
  • Sabine Jokisch
  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

This paper develops a three-region dynamic general-equilibrium life-cycle model to analyze general and skill-specific immigration policy in the U.S., Japan, and the E.U. Immigration is often offered as a solution to the remarkable demographic transition underway in the developed world. However, the precise net impact of expanded immigration is quite unclear. Additional immigrants pay taxes, but they also require public goods and become eligible for social security programs. Since taxes and transfer payments are collected and distributed on a progressive basis, high-skilled immigrants deliver a larger bang for the buck when it comes to paying net taxes. Our model confirms this point. Nonetheless, its findings are not pretty. It shows that a significant expansion of immigration, whether across all skill groups or among particular skill groups, will do remarkably little to alter the major capital shortage, tax hikes, and reductions in real wages that can be expected along the demographic transition.

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Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal FinanzArchiv.

Volume (Year): 60 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 296-

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200409)60:3_296:troiid_2.0.tx_2-_
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
  2. Axel Börsch-Supan & Alexander Ludwig & Joachim Winter, 2002. "Aging and International Capital Flows," MEA discussion paper series 02010, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  3. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & James Sefton & Martin Weale, 1998. "Simulating the transmission of wealth inequality via bequests," Working Paper 9811, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  4. Robin Brooks, 2003. "Population Aging and Global Capital Flows in a Parallel Universe," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 50(2), pages 3.
  5. Mariacristina De Nardi & Selahattin Imrohoglu & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "Projected U.S. demographics and social security," Working Paper Series WP-98-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Fehr, Hans, 2000. " Pension Reform during the Demographic Transition," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 419-43, June.
  7. Whitehouse, Edward, 2001. "Pension systems in 15 countries compared: the value of entitlements," MPRA Paper 14751, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence Kotlikoff, 2003. "The Developed World's Demographic Transition - The Roles of Capital Flows, Immigration, and Policy," NBER Working Papers 10096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Philip Oreopoulos & Alan J. Auerbach, 1999. "Analyzing the Fiscal Impact of U.S. Immigration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 176-180, May.
  10. Storesletten, Kjetil, 1998. "Sustaining Fiscal Policy Through Immigration," Seminar Papers 664, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  11. Thai-Thanh Dang & Pablo Antolín & Howard Oxley, 2001. "Fiscal Implications of Ageing: Projections of Age-Related Spending," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 305, OECD Publishing.
  12. Lundborg, Per & Segerstrom, Paul S., 1998. "The Growth and Welfare Effects of International Mass Migration," Working Paper Series 146, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
  13. Sveinbjörn Blöndal & Stefano Scarpetta, 1999. "The Retirement Decision in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 202, OECD Publishing.
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