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Immigration, Citizenship, and the Size of Government

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  • Ortega, Francesc

    () (Queens College, CUNY)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the political sustainability of the welfare state in an environment where immigration is the main demographic force and where governments are able to influence the size and skill composition of immigration flows. Specifically, I present a dynamic political-economy model where both income redistribution and immigration policy are chosen by majority vote. Voters take into account their children's prospects of economic mobility and the future political consequences of today's policies. Over time, the skill distribution evolves due to intergenerational skill upgrading and immigration. I consider three immigration and citizenship regimes. In the first, immigrants stay permanently in the country and citizenship is obtained by birthplace (jus soli). In the second regime immigration is also permanent but citizenship is passed only by bloodline (jus sanguinis). In the third regime immigrants are only admitted temporarily and cannot vote. Our main finding is that under permanent migration and jus soli there exist equilibria where income redistribution is sustained indefinitely, despite constant skill upgrading in the population. However, this is not the case in the other two regimes. The crucial insight is that unskilled voters trade off the lower wages from larger unskilled immigration with the increased political support for redistributive transfers provided by the children of the current immigrants. In contrast, in the regimes where immigrants and their children do not gain the right to vote, unskilled voters oppose any unskilled immigration and political support for income transfers vanishes. We argue that these mechanisms have important implications for the ongoing debates over comprehensive immigration reform in the US and elsewhere.

Suggested Citation

  • Ortega, Francesc, 2009. "Immigration, Citizenship, and the Size of Government," IZA Discussion Papers 4528, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4528
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Simone Bertoli & Jesus Fernandez-Huertas Moraga & Francesc Ortega, 2011. "Immigration Policies and the Ecuadorian Exodus," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 25(1), pages 57-76, March.
    4. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really so Bad?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 300-323, November.
    5. Barbera, S. & Maschler, M. & Shalev, J., 2001. "Voting for Voters: A Model of Electoral Evolution," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 40-78, October.
    6. 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.
    7. Graziella Bertocchi & Chiara Strozzi, 2010. "The Evolution of Citizenship: Economic and Institutional Determinants," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 95-136, February.
    8. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2007. "Public Finance And Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 1-33, March.
    9. 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.
    10. Francesc Ortega & Ryuichi Tanaka, 2007. "Gender specialization in households: An empirical analysis," Economics Working Papers 1021, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    11. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David de la Croix & Frederic Docquier, 2015. "An Incentive Mechanism to Break the Low-skill Immigration Deadlock," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 593-618, July.
    2. Santiago Sánchez-Pagés & Ángel Solano García, 2016. "Immigration, Conflict, and Redistribution," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 118(3), pages 557-593, July.
    3. repec:wsi:wschap:9789814719902_0010 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Armenter, Roc & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "Credible redistribution policy and skilled migration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 228-245, February.
    5. Stark, Oded & Byra, Lukasz & Casarico, Alessandra & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2017. "A critical comparison of migration policies: Entry fee versus quota," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 91-107.
    6. Llavador, Humberto & Solano-García, Angel, 2011. "Immigration policy with partisan parties," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 134-142, February.
    7. Christian Dustmann & Joseph-Simon Görlach, 2016. "The Economics of Temporary Migrations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 98-136, March.
    8. Farré Lidia & González Libertad & Ortega Francesc, 2011. "Immigration, Family Responsibilities and the Labor Supply of Skilled Native Women," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-48, June.
    9. Iturbe-Ormaetxe, Iñigo & Romero, J. Gabriel, 2016. "Financing public goods and attitudes toward immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 159-178.
    10. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2017. "Inequality, redistribution and cultural integration in the Welfare State," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 122-140.
    11. Pierre M. Picard & Tim Worrall, 2010. "Sustainable Migration Policies," CREA Discussion Paper Series 10-12, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    12. Calahorrano, Lena & an de Meulen, Philipp, 2011. "Demographics and Factor Flows – A Political Economy Approach," Ruhr Economic Papers 299, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    13. repec:zbw:rwirep:0299 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Mario Izquierdo & Juan Jimeno & Juan Rojas, 2010. "On the aggregate effects of immigration in Spain," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 409-432, September.
    15. González, Libertad & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "How do very open economies adjust to large immigration flows? Evidence from Spanish regions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 57-70, January.
    16. Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "Openness and income: The roles of trade and migration," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 10, pages 309-329 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    17. Lena Calahorrano & Philipp an de Meulen, 2011. "Demographics and Factor Flows – A Political Economy Approach," Ruhr Economic Papers 0299, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    18. Ortega, Francesc & Peri, Giovanni, 2009. "The Causes and Effects of International Labor Mobility: Evidence from OECD Countries 1980-2005," MPRA Paper 19183, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Zaiceva, A. & Zimmermann, K.F., 2016. "Migration and the Demographic Shift," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.
    20. Ortega, Francesc & Peri, Giovanni, 2012. "The Role of Income and Immigration Policies in Attracting International Migrants," IZA Discussion Papers 6655, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Ortega, Francesc & Polavieja, Javier G., 2012. "Labor-market exposure as a determinant of attitudes toward immigration," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 298-311.
    22. Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri, 2015. "Migration Policies: Recent Advances on Measurement, Determinants and Outcomes," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(3-4), pages 521-526.
    23. repec:eee:poleco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:141-165 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Max F. Steinhardt & Maurizio Zanardi, 2012. "The Political Economy of Trade and Migration: Evidence from the US Congress: CEPR Discussion Paper 9270," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2012-49, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    25. Lena Calahorrano, 2011. "Population Aging and Individual Attitudes toward Immigration: Disentangling Age, Cohort and Time Effects," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 389, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    redistributive policies; citizenship; immigration; political economy;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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