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Migration and Social Replacement Incomes: How to Protect Low-IncomeWorkers in the Industrialized Countries against the Forces of Globalizationand Market Integration


  • Sinn, Hans-Werner


This paper discusses how an industrialized country could defend the wages and social benefits of its unskilled workers against wage competition from immigrants. It shows that fixing social standards harms the workers and that fixing social replacement incomes implies migration into unemployment. Defending wages with replacement incomes brings about first-order efficiency losses that outweigh the budget cost to the government. By contrast, wage subsidies involve much smaller welfare losses. While the exclusion of migrants from a national replacement program does not improve the situation, the (temporary) exclusion of migrants from a national subsidy program makes it possible to avoid a distortion of the migration pattern.

Suggested Citation

  • Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2005. "Migration and Social Replacement Incomes: How to Protect Low-IncomeWorkers in the Industrialized Countries against the Forces of Globalizationand Market Integration," Munich Reprints in Economics 937, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:937

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Franz, Wolfgang & Konig, Heinz, 1986. "The Nature and Causes of Unemployment in the Federal Republic of Germany since the 1970s: An Empirical Investigation," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages 219-244, Supplemen.
    2. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1990. "Tax harmonization and tax competition in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(2-3), pages 489-504, May.
    3. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2002. "EU Enlargement and the Future of the Welfare State," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(1), pages 104-115, February.
    4. Brown, Charles C. & Oates, Wallace E., 1987. "Assistance to the poor in a federal system," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 307-330, April.
    5. Nickell, Stephen J & Symons, James, 1990. "The Real Wage-Employment Relationship in the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 1-15, January.
    6. Richter, Wolfram F., 2004. "Delaying integration of immigrant labor for the purpose of taxation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 597-613, May.
    7. David E. Wildasin, 1994. "Income Redistribution and Migration," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(3), pages 637-656, August.
    8. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 1996. "Distributive implications of European integration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 747-757, April.
    9. Wildasin, David E, 1991. "Income Redistribution in a Common Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 757-774, September.
    10. Jan K. Brueckner, 1999. "Welfare Reform and the Race to the Bottom: Theory and Evidence," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 505-525, January.
    11. Hans-Werner Sinn & Wolfgang Ochel, 2003. "Social Union, Convergence and Migration," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(5), pages 869-896, December.
    12. Burgess, Simon M, 1988. "Employment Adjustment in UK Manufacturing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(389), pages 81-103, March.
    13. Hans-Werner Sinn & Gebhard Flaig & Martin Werding & Sonja Munz & Nicola Düll & Herbert Hofmann, 2001. "EU-Erweiterung und Arbeitskräftemigration : Wege zu einer schrittweisen Annäherung der Arbeitsmärkte," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 2, November.
    14. Hans-Werner Sinn & Martin Werding, 2001. "Immigration Following EU Eastern Enlargement," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 2(2), pages 40-47, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Adam, Antonis & Moutos, Thomas, 2011. "A politico-economic analysis of minimum wages and wage subsidies," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 171-173, March.
    2. Oliver Lorz & Karen Schaefer, 2011. "Temporary immigration visas," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(3), pages 291-303, June.
    3. Tito Boeri & Herbert Brücker, 2005. "Why are Europeans so tough on migrants?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(44), pages 629-703, October.
    4. Fidrmuc, Jan, 2005. "Labour Mobility During Transition: Evidence from the Czech Republic," CEPR Discussion Papers 5069, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Alfons J. Weichenrieder & Oliver Busch, 2005. "Artificial Time Inconsistency as a Remedy for the Race to the Bottom (new title: Delayed Integration as a Possible Remedy for the Race to the Bottom)," CESifo Working Paper Series 1637, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. A. Atkinson, 2008. "The economics of the welfare state in today’s world," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(1), pages 5-17, February.
    7. Hans-Werner Sinn & Christian Holzner & Wolfgang Meister & Wolfgang Ochel & Martin Werding, 2006. "Aktivierende Sozialhilfe 2006 - das Kombilohn-Modell des ifo Instituts," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 59(02), pages 06-27, January.
    8. Tito Boeri, 2010. "Immigration to the Land of Redistribution," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(308), pages 651-687, October.
    9. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2007. "The Welfare State and the Forces of Globalization," NBER Working Papers 12946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Weichenrieder, Alfons J. & Busch, Oliver, 2007. "Delayed integration as a possible remedy for the race to the bottom," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 565-575, May.
    11. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Zohal Hessami, 2010. "Globalization, Redistribution, and the Composition of Public Education Expenditures," CESifo Working Paper Series 2917, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Lars Calmfors & Giancarlo Corsetti & Michael P. Devereux & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Xavier Vives, 2008. "Chapter 3: The effect of globalisation on Western European jobs: curse or blessing?," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 71-104, February.

    More about this item


    migration; unemployment; welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers


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