Migration policy: A survey of UK-based macroeconomists

Angus Armstrong, Francesco Caselli, Jagjit Chadha, Wouter den Haan, 9 August 2014

What is the impact of migration on the UK economy and how effective are the current government’s migration policies? Among respondents to the fifth monthly survey of the Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM), reported in this column, there is overwhelming support for the view that migration will increase the average income of current UK inhabitants. Moreover, the panel of experts thinks that current government policies are not effective in attracting the ‘best and brightest’ – in fact, they may even be doing the opposite.

How immigration benefits natives

Michele Battisti, Gabriel Felbermayr, Giovanni Peri, Panu Poutvaara, 8 August 2014

Immigration continues to be a hotly debated topic in most OECD countries. Economic models emphasising the benefits of immigration for natives have typically neglected unemployment and redistribution – precisely the things voters are most concerned about. This column analyses the effects of immigration in a world with labour market rigidities and income redistribution. In two-thirds of the 20 countries analysed, both high-skilled and low-skilled natives would benefit from a small increase in immigration from current levels. The average welfare gains from immigration are 1.25% and 1.00% for high- and low-skilled natives, respectively.

Changes in migration policies after 1914

Drew Keeling, 23 June 2014

When nations declared war in 1914, migration policies changed. This column describes some of these changes and how they affected later migration incentives and patterns. Before 1914, migration had been peaceful and driven by market incentives. Since 1914, it has been shaped by politically determined quotas, legal restrictions, and flights from wars and oppression.

Culture: Persistence and evolution

Francesco Giavazzi, Ivan Petkov, Fabio Schiantarelli, 16 June 2014

The persistence of cultural attitudes is an important determinant of the success of institutional reforms, and of the impact of immigration on a country’s culture. This column presents evidence from a study of European immigrants to the US. Some cultural traits – such as deep religious values – are highly persistent, whereas others – such as attitudes towards cooperation and redistribution – change more quickly. Many cultural attitudes evolve significantly between the second and fourth generations, and the persistence of different attitudes varies across countries of origin.

Public opinion, immigration, and the recession

Timothy J Hatton, 7 June 2014

In the recent European Parliament elections, right-wing populist parties made significant gains. Commentators have linked the rise of these parties to growing anti-immigration sentiment in the wake of the crisis. This column examines the extent to which public opinion has in fact shifted against immigration. Survey data shows that there was no Europe-wide surge in anti-immigration opinion between 2006 and 2010, although there was a marked change in Spain, Greece, and Ireland. This suggests that populist parties’ success cannot be attributed to anti-immigration sentiment alone.

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