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Why Has UK Net Immigration Increased?

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  • Timothy Hatton

Abstract

Since the 1970s Britain has gone from being a country of net emigration to one of net immigration, with a trend increase in the net balance of about 100,000 per year. This paper represents the first attempt comprehensively 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 improved economic performance in the UK relative to overseas has tended to increase immigration. But a more important influence, especially on the reduced out-migration of British citizens, has been growing UK inequality. By contrast, shifts in immigration policies at home and abroad seem to have been relatively unimportant.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Hatton, 2002. "Why Has UK Net Immigration Increased?," CEPR Discussion Papers 457, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:457
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP457.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 1006-1041, November.
    4. Cobb-Clark, D.A. & Connolly, M.D., 1996. "The Worldwide Market for Skilled Migrants: Can Australia Compete?," CEPR Discussion Papers 341, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    5. 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.
    6. Glover, Stephen & Gott, Ceri & Loizillon, Anaïs & Portes, Jonathan & Price, Richard & Spencer, Sarah & Srinivasan, Vasanthi & Willis, Carole, 2001. "Migration: an economic and social analysis," MPRA Paper 75900, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. David Karemera & Victor Iwuagwu Oguledo & Bobby Davis, 2000. "A gravity model analysis of international migration to North America," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(13), pages 1745-1755.
    8. Barry R. Chiswick, 1999. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 147, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Nickell & Jumana Saleheen, 2008. "The impact of immigration on occupational wages: evidence from Britain," Working Papers 08-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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