The value of democracy in the world’s poorest region: Evidence from Kenya’s road building
Ameet Morjaria 05 February 2014
Ethnic favouritism is a longstanding problem in Africa. This column presents new evidence of this phenomenon and how democracy affects it. Data on road building in Kenya confirms strong ethnic favouritism that disappears during periods of democracy.
An enormous literature points to a diverse set of factors behind Africa’s growth tragedy, ranging from bad policies, poor education, and poor infrastructure, to aging leaders, the historic slave trade, and political instability. Historians, political scientists, and economists have all argued that ethnic favouritism – a situation where coethnics benefit from patronage and public policy decisions – has hampered the economic performance of many African countries.
Development Institutions and economics Politics and economics
democracy, Africa, autocracy, ethnic inequality, public finance
The fiscal consequences of unrestricted immigration from Romania and Bulgaria
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.
Since 1 January, citizens of Romania and Bulgaria have the same freedom of movement inside the European Union as citizens of other member states. The approaching end to transnational restrictions caused intense public debate in several of the richer EU countries during the past year, stoked by fears that large numbers of poor Romanians and Bulgarians would migrate to the richer EU countries and impose a heavy burden on public finances.
EU policies Europe's nations and regions Migration Welfare state and social Europe
immigration policy, fiscal burden, public finance
Eastern European migrants are net contributors – not costs – in the West
Joakim Ruist 17 September 2013
This year the free movement of eastern European workers within the EU has been questioned. Fearing excessive use of their own welfare systems, governments have argued for continued access restrictions. This column presents research showing that eastern European migrants have been net contributors to public finances of the richer EU15 nations that received them.
In 2004 when the EU expanded from 15 to 25 member countries, all EU15 countries except Sweden made use of the possibility to temporarily restrict the new EU citizens’ access to their labour markets and welfare systems for up to seven years. The UK and Ireland only imposed minor restrictions. When Romania and Bulgaria joined in 2007, all except Sweden and Finland imposed similar restrictions for citizens of these two countries.
EU, Eastern Europe, public finance