IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Migration, Redistribution and the Universal Welfare Model


  • Andersen, Torben M.

    () (Aarhus University)


The universal Scandinavian welfare model offers generous tax financed social benefits. The scheme is associated with workfare elements as a targeting device to direct benefits to those considered deserving. Thereby social insurance and egalitarian outcomes are achieved while work incentives and thus a high employment rate crucial for the financial viability of the model are maintained. The scope for this policy may depend critically on the characteristics of the population (abilities and preferences) and thus be significantly affected by immigration affecting the distribution of characteristics, especially if the model attracts immigrants with particular characteristics. The paper develops a simple model capable of capturing the rationale and essence of the above-mentioned redistribution model and considers its sensitivity and robustness to immigration, which may change the composition of the population in the ability and/or preference dimension.

Suggested Citation

  • Andersen, Torben M., 2012. "Migration, Redistribution and the Universal Welfare Model," IZA Discussion Papers 6665, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6665

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Assaf Razin & Jackline Wahba, 2015. "Welfare Magnet Hypothesis, Fiscal Burden, and Immigration Skill Selectivity," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 117(2), pages 369-402, April.
    2. Holzner, Christian & Meier, Volker & Werding, Martin, 2010. "Workfare, monitoring, and efficiency wages," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 157-168, March.
    3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-261, March.
    4. Torben M. Andersen & Michael Svarer, 2014. "The Role of Workfare in Striking a Balance between Incentives and Insurance in the Labour Market," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 81(321), pages 86-116, January.
    5. Corrado Giulietti & Martin Guzi & Martin Kahanec & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2013. "Unemployment benefits and immigration: evidence from the EU," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 34(1), pages 24-38, March.
    6. Brett, Craig, 1998. "Who Should Be on Workfare? The Use of Work Requirements as Part of an Optimal Tax Mix," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 607-622, October.
    7. Pedersen, Peder J. & Pytlikova, Mariola & Smith, Nina, 2008. "Selection and network effects--Migration flows into OECD countries 1990-2000," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1160-1186, October.
    8. Katherine Cuff, 2000. "Optimality of workfare with heterogeneous preferences," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(1), pages 149-174, February.
    9. Nicole M Fortin, 2005. "Gender Role Attitudes and the Labour-market Outcomes of Women across OECD Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 416-438, Autumn.
    10. Amelie F. Constant & Martin Kahanec & Ulf Rinne & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2011. "Ethnicity, job search and labor market reintegration of the unemployed," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(7), pages 753-776, October.
    11. Borjas, George J, 1999. "Immigration and Welfare Magnets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 607-637, October.
    12. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Torben Tranas, 2005. "Optimal Workfare with Voluntary and Involuntary Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 459-474, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jose Antonio Alonso, 2015. "Managing Labour Mobility: A Missing Pillar of Global Governance," CDP Background Papers 026, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.

    More about this item


    work incentives; active labour market policy; redistribution;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6665. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.