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Explaining trends in UK immigration

  • Timothy Hatton


Since the 1970s Britain has gone from being a country of net emigration to one of net immigration, with a trend increase in immigration of more than 100,000 per year. This Paper represents the first attempt to model the variations in net migration for British and for foreign citizens, across countries and over time. A simple economic model, which includes the selection effects of differing income distributions at home and abroad, largely accounts for the variations in the data. The results suggest that while improved economic performance in the UK relative to overseas has tended to increase immigration, rising UK inequality has had an even larger effect. Immigration policies at home and abroad have also increased net immigration, particularly in the 1990s.

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

Volume (Year): 18 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 719-740

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:18:y:2005:i:4:p:719-740
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  1. Barrett, Alan & Fitz Gerald, John & Nolan, Brian, 2000. "Earnings Inequality, Returns to Education and Immigration into Ireland," CEPR Discussion Papers 2493, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
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  5. Ximena Clark & Timothy J. Hatton & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2002. "Where Do U.S. Immigrants Come From, and Why?," NBER Working Papers 8998, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. George J. Borjas, 1991. "Immigration Policy, National Origin, and Immigrant Skills: A Comparison of Canada and the United States," NBER Working Papers 3691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Winkelmann, Rainer, 2000. "Immigration Policies and their Impact: The Case of New Zealand and Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 169, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Chiswick, Barry R., 2000. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Tom Clark & Jayne Taylor, 1999. "Income inequality: a tale of two cycles?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 20(4), pages 387-408, December.
  11. Hatton, Timothy J. & Wheatley Price, Stephen, 1998. "Migration, Migrants and Policy in the United Kingdom," CEPR Discussion Papers 1960, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Dustmann, Christian & Francesca Fabbri & Ian Preston, 2003. "The Local Labour Market Effects of Immigration in the UK," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 70, Royal Economic Society.
  13. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  14. Robert I. Lerman, 1999. "U.S. Wage-Inequality Trends and Recent Immigration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 23-28, May.
  15. David Card & Richard B. Freeman, 1993. "Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number card93-1, July.
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  17. Alan G. Green & David A. Green, 1995. "Canadian Immigration Policy: The Effectiveness of the Point System and Other Instruments," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(4b), pages 1006-41, November.
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