Allowing greater immigration may raise tax revenue and help pay for the welfare state, but it also affects the future composition of the voting population. This column discusses a political-economy model in which the largest group in a winning coalition chooses tax and immigration policies, and explains how the composition of the voting population changes over time.
Assaf Razin, Efraim Sadka, Benjarong Suwankiri, 17 January 2015
Martin Ruhs, 12 November 2014
Many low-income countries and development organisations are calling for greater liberalisation of labour immigration policies in high-income countries. At the same time, human rights organisations and migrant rights’ advocates demand more equal rights for migrant workers. This Vox Talk discusses the tensions between human rights and citizenship rights and argues that you cannot always have both.
Joakim Ruist, 18 January 2014
The lifting of transitional access restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian workers is a hotly debated topic in the EU with big implications for public finances in destination countries. This column presents analysis of immigrants in Sweden, which never imposed access restrictions when these two countries joined the EU. Romanian and Bulgarian migrants to Sweden under this unrestricted regime make a sizeable positive contribution to Swedish public finances. Contributions can be expected to be even larger in the UK and Ireland.
Katerina Lisenkova, 10 January 2014
Efforts to limit immigration are being implemented in many rich nations. Restricting immigration to these advanced ageing economies could be an economic boon or bane. This column presents recent work examining the labour market and fiscal impacts of restricting immigration, taking the UK government’s stated goal as an example. The results suggest that a significant reduction in net migration would have strong negative effects on the UK economy.
Emmanuelle Auriol, Alice Mesnard, 04 June 2012
Is there a way of eliminating human smuggling? This column argues it can be done that by legalising migration through the sale of visas at a price that pushes smugglers out of business. The resulting trade-off between eliminating human smuggling and controlling migration flows can be dealt with the right policy mix of traditional repressive instruments and innovative pricing tools.
Giovanni Facchini, Max Steinhardt, 21 March 2011
Which legislators are more likely to vote for more liberal immigration policies for unskilled workers? The authors of CEPR DP8299 develop and empirically test a model which correlates the skill composition of constituent voters with their legislator's voting record on migration policy. The DP finds that representatives from districts with more high-skilled workers consistently vote for more expansive unskilled immigration policies.
Timothy Hatton, Jeffrey Williamson, 29 April 2009
International migration rises and falls with the business cycle, as do attitudes towards migrants. History leads us to expect a global recession to increase anti-immigrant sentiments and possibly spur new barriers to migration. However, this column argues that such measures are less likely than in the past, as anti-immigrant sentiments are relatively weak and economic and demographic forces are reducing the long-run immigration trend.
Giovanni Facchini, Anna Maria Mayda, 21 June 2008
Public opinion is hostile to people flows. But new research shows that immigration would be even scarcer if the median voter determined policy. Pro-immigration interest groups have some policy sway.
Giovanni Facchini, Anna Maria Mayda, 27 May 2008
Provided that the income gap between poor sending countries and rich destination countries continues to be very pronounced and transport and communication costs have drastically declined compared to one hundred years ago, it appears that restrictive migration policies are key determinants of the limited flows actually observed. The authors of CEPR DP6835 examine the process through which individual attitudes are mapped into these immigration policy outcomes in democratic societies.
Timothy Hatton, 14 February 2008
Europe is moving towards immigration policies that favour the acceptance of highly skilled applicants. This column summarises research showing that such policies may have some effect but cautions that there are limits to the power of selectivity.