Migration

Mathias Thoenig, 08 January 2021

A new study uses detailed data on the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany to investigate why individuals become refugees. Mathias Thoenig tells Tim Phillips about a simple policy that would have saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the 1930s, but is still ignored today.

Cevat Giray Aksoy, Panu Poutvaara, Felicitas Schikora, 11 December 2020

Around 2.4 million refugees and irregular migrants arrived in Europe from 2015 to 2016. This column presents systematic evidence on how local unemployment and attitudes towards immigrants at refugees’ initial place of residence shape their multi-dimensional integration in the context of the European refugee crisis. Leveraging Germany’s centralised allocation policy, which exogenously assigns refugees to live in specific counties, it finds that high initial local unemployment negatively affects refugees’ economic and social integration. Further, favorable attitudes towards immigrants promote the economic and social integration of refugees.

Lukas Kleine-Rueschkamp, Cem Özgüzel, 09 December 2020

Workers in essential services have been crucial during COVID-induced lockdowns. This column assesses the contribution of migrants to ‘key worker’ occupations across regions in 31 European countries. Based on individual-level data on occupations from the EU labour force survey and the European Commission’s definition of key workers, it shows that migrants are as likely to support regional economies in key worker occupations as native-born workers are. However, within countries, large differences exist across regions and between cities and rural areas. Overall, migrants play an especially important role in low-skilled key occupations and in cities. At the same time, they also provide a vital source of labour supply in skilled jobs critical for European healthcare systems, such as doctors and nurses.

Mark Colas, Dominik Sachs, 07 October 2020

There is a widespread perception that low-skilled immigration is a fiscal burden for society. This column incorporates indirect fiscal effects of immigration that arise in general equilibrium into various models that have been emphasised in the empirical immigration literature. It finds that the indirect fiscal effect is in fact positive, with one low-skilled immigrant in the US adding between $700 to $2,100 to the public finances through this channel each year.

Arun Advani, Felix Koenig, Lorenzo Pessina, Andy Summers, 17 September 2020

Top incomes have grown rapidly in recent decades and this growth has sparked a debate about rising inequality in Western societies. This column combines data from UK tax records with new information on migrant status to show that that migrants are highly represented at the top of the UK’s income distribution. Indeed, migration can account for the majority of top-income growth in the past two decades and can help explain why the UK has experienced an outsized increase in top incomes.

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