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Too many migrants, too few services: a model of decision-making on immigration and integration with cultural distance

  • Harrie Verbon


  • Lex Meijdam


In this paper we model the demand for immigrants as a trade-off native voters face between having services, produced by unskilled and non-assimilated immigrants, and experiencing disutility due to the immigrant workers having a culture different from the native culture. Immigrants decide whether to integrate into the native culture. If they don’t, they produce services. Assimilated immigrants take on skilled jobs. At the political level natives choose the number of immigrants that can be allowed, given some fixed price for services. We show that, at the assumed price, it is never optimal for natives to have equilibrium or unemployment in the service sector. Market forces then lead to higher service prices, implying that the initially allowed number of immigrants is too large.

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

Volume (Year): 21 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 665-677

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:21:y:2008:i:3:p:665-677
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  1. Anna Maria Mayda, 2004. "Who is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," Development Working Papers 187, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  2. Dickens, William T & Lang, Kevin, 1985. "A Test of Dual Labor Market Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 792-805, September.
  3. Benhabib, Jess, 1996. "On the political economy of immigration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1737-1743, December.
  4. Haupt, Alexander & Peters, Wolfgang, 1998. " Public Pensions and Voting on Immigration," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(3-4), pages 403-13, June.
  5. Epstein, Gil S & Gang, Ira, 2004. "Ethnic Networks and International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 4616, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Mansoorian, Arman & Myers, Gordon M., 1993. "Attachment to home and efficient purchases of population in a fiscal externality economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 117-132, August.
  7. Bauer, Thomas K. & Lofstrom, Magnus & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2000. "Immigration Policy, Assimilation of Immigrants and Natives' Sentiments towards Immigrants: Evidence from 12 OECD-Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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