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Immigration to the land of redistribution

The London School of Economics and Political Science
Publication Date
  • Hn Social History And Conditions. Social Problems. Social Reform
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Political Science


LEQSPaper5Boeri5 A New Concept of European Federalism LSE ‘Europe in Question’ Discussion Paper Series Immigration to the Land of Redistribution Tito Boeri LEQS Paper No. 05/2009 June 2009 All views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or the LSE. © Tito Boeri Editorial Board Dr. Joan Costa-i-Font Dr. Vassilis Monastiriotis Dr. Jonathan White Ms. Katjana Gattermann Tito Boeri Immigration to the Land of Redistribution Tito Boeri* Abstract Negative perceptions about migrants in Europe, the Continent with the largest social policy programmes, are driven by concerns that foreigners are a net fiscal burden. Increasing concerns are pressing Governments, in the midst of the recession, to reduce welfare access by migrants or further tighten migration policies. Are there politically feasible alternatives to these two hardly enforceable (and procyclical) policy options? In this paper we look at economic and cultural determinants of negative perceptions about migrants in Europe. Based on a simple model of the perceived fiscal effects of migration and on a largely unexploited database (EU-Silc), we find no evidence that legal migrants, notably skilled migrants, are net recipients of transfers from the state. However, there is evidence of “residual dependency” on contributory transfers and self-selection migrants more likely to draw on welfare in the countries with the most generous welfare state. Moreover, those favouring redistribution to the poor do not overlap with those considering migrants as part of the same community. A

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