David Jacks, John Tang, 21 October 2018

Foreign goods and workers are regularly blamed when the national economy is performing poorly. Economic theory suggests that trade and migration are substitutes – one can import cheaper products from a trade partner, or one can import the foreign workers themselves to narrow the difference in international factor prices. Yet, empirically this is not obvious. Based on available long-run data for international trade and migration since the late 19th century for the US and Canada, this column finds that during the interwar period, trade and immigration did in fact appear to be substitutes.

Jonathan Portes, 04 October 2018

A report by the UK Government’s independent Migration Advisory Committee draws on new research on the impact of immigration to the UK, particularly on migration, training, and the public finances. This column presents some of the findings from the report.

Sari Pekkala Kerr, William Kerr, 21 September 2018

There is a contentious global debate surrounding the impact of immigrants on local labour markets. One less contentious aspect has been the notion that immigrant entrepreneurs can have major positive effects for the host economy. This column uses novel US data to explore how immigrant entrepreneurs affect local labour markets and compare with native entrepreneurs. Key findings include substantial geographic variation in immigrant startup rates, lower hiring and salaries, and slightly higher female ownership in immigrant-owned firms. 

Lee Branstetter, Britta Glennon, J. Bradford Jensen, 21 August 2018

US firms have begun shifting R&D investment towards non-traditional destinations such as China, India, and Israel. The column argues that this is a response to a shortage in software and IT-related human capital within the US. When US multinationals are able to import talent or export R&D work, this reinforces US technological leadership. Conversely, politically engineered constraints on this response will undermine the competitiveness of US-based firms.

Katherine Eriksson, Zach Ward, 06 August 2018

Those opposed to immigration often contend that immigrants are slow to assimilate. This column takes a longer-term view of assimilation by looking at the degree of ethnic spatial segregation in the US during and after the Age of Mass Migration. New methods and newly digitised data suggest that segregation in the US between 1850 and 1940 was both higher and more widespread than previously thought. However, despite slow rates of spatial assimilation, immigrants tend to assimilate culturally at a fast rate. 

Alberto Alesina, Armando Miano, Stefanie Stantcheva, 31 July 2018

The debate on immigration is often based on misperceptions about the number and character of immigrants. The column uses data from surveys in six countries to show that such misperceptions are striking and widespread. The column also describes how an experiment in which people were encouraged think about their perception of immigrants made them more averse to redistribution in general, suggesting that the focus on immigration in the political debate – without correcting the misperceptions respondents have about immigrants – could have the unintended consequence of reducing support for redistribution.

Olivier Blanchard, Jacob Kirkegaard, 04 July 2018

Christoph Albert, Joan Monras, 29 June 2018

Immigrants usually spend part of their time, savings, and income in their country of origin and not where they currently live. This column uses US data to argue that the resulting difference in consumption patterns relative to natives has profound implications for the types of cities that immigrants are attracted to. It shows that immigrants redistribute economic activity towards large, expensive cities. These cities tend to be more productive, so immigrants have a positive effect on overall output.

Alessandra Casarico, Giovanni Facchini, Tommaso Frattini, 28 June 2018

European countries have recently experienced an extraordinary inflow of asylum seekers. Using a theoretical framework and US data, this column studies the key economic triggers which prompt policymakers to implement immigration legalisation programmes. It shows that the more restricted the occupational opportunities of undocumented immigrants and the smaller the fiscal leakage to undocumented immigrants via the welfare state, the more desirable an amnesty is. 

Vasiliki Fouka, Soumyajit Mazumder, Marco Tabellini, 17 June 2018

The ability of a state to accommodate diverse populations depends on how successfully immigrant groups can assimilate. The column use data from the south-north migration of 1.5 million African Americans between 1910 and 1930 to show that the appearance of other low-status groups can promote assimilation among pre-existing immigrants. The new low-status group makes existing immigrants appear less socially distant to natives. This suggests that assimilation policies that target native attitudes might as promising as interventions directed at immigrants.

Simon Wren-Lewis, 12 June 2018

Joan Monras, Javier Vázquez-Grenno, Ferran Elias, 15 May 2018

Studies have shown that granting work permits helps immigrants settle and integrate into host economies, but we know relatively little about how host economies are affected by the mass legalisation of immigrant workers. This column uses one of the largest and most unexpected legalisations in the world – by the Zapatero government in Spain – to show how legalisation can increase public revenues, but can also have distributive consequences for other workers in the economy.

Assaf Razin, 06 May 2018

The exodus of Soviet Jews to Israel in the 1990s was a unique event. This column shows that this immigration wave was distinctive for its large high-skilled cohort, and its quick integration into the domestic labour market. Immigration also changed the entire economic landscape, raising productivity and underpinning the information technological surge. Israel’s unusually robust assimilation of immigrants into the economic sphere and the electoral system has transformed the political balance and triggered significant changes in income distribution.

Francesco Fasani, Tommaso Frattini, Luigi Minale, 09 April 2018

The lack of differentiation between refugees and other immigrants in immigration data presents major problems for researchers looking at refugee integration. This column uses novel European data to investigate factors affecting the integration of asylum seekers into host labour markets. The results suggest that allowing free residential mobility and reducing uncertainty in refugee status determination processes could improve future labour market outcomes.

Jonathan Portes, 06 April 2018

Much public and policy concern has focused on the distributional impacts of immigration – in particular, potential negative impacts on employment and wages for low-skilled workers. This column summarises evidence and draws conclusions from the now considerable literature on the impact of migration to the UK on the economy and labour market, including the potential economic impacts of Brexit-induced reductions in migration.

Hiroyuki Nakata, 22 March 2018

Many advanced economies are facing the twin challenges of an ageing population and public hostility towards immigration. This column studies the impact of demographics on attitudes towards immigration in Japan, and the effectiveness of information campaigns explaining the benefits of immigration. It finds that information campaigns are effective in improving attitudes towards immigration, especially amongst women. Deep generational gaps in attitudes towards immigration may be caused by younger men in particular viewing immigrants as potential competitors.

Gaetano Basso, Giovanni Peri, Ahmed Rahman, 12 January 2018

The US and Europe have both seen wage polarisation in the last three decades, in parallel with increasing technical automation. This column analyses the impact of immigration on this wage divergence via its effect on the labour supply side. It finds that immigration partially reverses natives’ polarisation of employment opportunities and wages by expanding aggregate demand and allowing natives to move to better paying occupations. Policies to reduce low-skilled migration with the aim of favouring native middle-class labour market opportunities may in fact do the opposite.


The conference focuses on demographic change and immigration in industrialized countries and on the ways these phenomena interact with employment, wages, and participation in the labor market. Researchers are invited to submit empirical and theoretical contributions on this topic from all areas of economics and sociology.

The conference is sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the Priority Program “The German Labor Market in a Globalized World – Challenges through Trade, Technology, and Demographics” (SPP 1764) and the Labor and Socio-Economic Research Center (LASER) at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.


The conference focuses on demographic change and immigration in industrialized countries and on the ways these phenomena interact with employment, wages, and participation in the labor market. Researchers are invited to submit empirical and theoretical contributions on this topic from all areas of economics and sociology.
Keynote speakers are Anne Case (Princeton University), Christian Dustmann (University College London), David Green (University of British Columbia, Vancouver) and Irena Kogan (University of Mannheim).

Please submit full papers (preliminary versions are welcome) as a PDF file to Angelika Ganserer via email to [email protected]. If possible, include up to four JEL Codes. Travel and accommodation costs will be reimbursed for speakers (one speaker per paper).
Deadline for paper submission is 20 December 2017. Selection decisions will be made by 25 January 2018.

Thomas Sampson, 19 October 2017

While we can estimate the economic impact of Brexit, we do not yet understand what made people vote for it. This column argues that political pro-Brexit rhetoric conflates two distinct hypotheses that have different policy implications. If voters wanted to reclaim sovereignty from the EU, they may view a negative economic impact as a price worth paying. But, if 'left-behind' voters blamed the EU for their economic and social problems, post-Brexit policy should focus on the underlying causes of discontent.



CEPR Policy Research