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.
Are a person’s values and beliefs persistent, or do they evolve – possibly rather quickly – in response to the economic and institutional environment? This is a central question, for instance, if one is interested in assessing the likelihood of success of reforms that change rules within a country.
Topics: Frontiers of economic research, Institutions and economics, Migration
Tags: attitudes, beliefs, Culture, immigration, religion, US, values
Public opinion on immigration: Has the recession changed minds?
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.
Topics: Migration, Politics and economics
Tags: democracy, European parliament, immigration, politics, populism
How highly educated immigrants raise native wages
Giovanni Peri, Kevin Shih, Chad Sparber, 29 May 2014
Immigrants to the US are drawn from both ends of the education spectrum. This column looks at the effect of highly educated immigrants – in particular, those with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics – on total factor productivity growth. The authors find that foreign STEM workers can explain 30% to 60% of US TFP growth between 1990 and 2010.
Immigration to the US has risen tremendously in recent decades. Though media attention and popular discourse often focus on illegal immigrants or the high foreign-born presence among less-educated workers, the data show that immigrants are drawn from both ends of the education spectrum.
Topics: Labour markets, Migration, Productivity and Innovation
Tags: complementarities, growth, immigration, innovation, productivity, STEM, US, wages
New evidence on the durability of social norms
John Helliwell, Shun Wang, Jinwen Xu, 12 March 2014
Social norms have been shown to have important effects on economic outcomes. This column discusses new evidence showing that social norms are deeply rooted in long-standing cultures, but do evolve in reaction to major changes. It draws on a fully global sample involving migrants in more than 130 countries, using seven waves of the Gallup World Poll.
Recent studies find that individuals’ social norms – as evidenced by their opinions and behaviour – can be transmitted from one generation to the next within the same cultural setting (Algan and Cahuc 2010, Bjørnskov 2012, Dohmen et al. 2012, Guiso et al. 2006, Rainer and Siedler 2009, Rice and Feldman 1997).
Topics: Frontiers of economic research, Migration
Tags: Culture, immigration, institutions, migration, social attitudes, social norms, trust
Migration and wage dynamics: Evidence from the Mexican peso crisis
Joan Monras, 22 December 2013
The impact of low-skilled migration on US wages is high on the US economic and political agenda. This column discusses new evidence on the migration-wages link that is based on a natural experiment – the unexpectedly large inflow of Mexican immigrants to the US following the 1995 peso crisis. States that received large inflows of Mexican immigrants saw low-skilled wages decrease significantly in the short run. These local shocks spread rapidly across the US due to interstate labour reallocation.
Despite the large inflows of immigrants experienced in a number of OECD countries, there is no consensus among economists about the causal effect of low-skilled immigration on native labour market outcomes. The reason is simple. Migrants decide when and where to go, and the implied changes in labour market outcomes determines how natives respond to immigration inflows.
Topics: Labour markets, Migration
Tags: immigration, peso crisis
The fiscal effects of immigration to the UK
Christian Dustmann, Tommaso Frattini, 13 November 2013
The immigration debate has focused on immigrants’ net fiscal impact – whether they receive more in welfare payments and other benefits than they pay back in taxes. This column summarises recent research showing that – contrary to popular belief – immigrants who arrived in the UK since 2000 have contributed far more in taxes than they have received in benefits. Compared with natives of the same age, gender, and education level, recent immigrants are 21% less likely to receive benefits.
The impact of immigration on the tax and welfare system and the net fiscal consequences is perhaps the single most prominent economic issue in the public debate over the pros and cons of immigration.
Topics: Migration, Welfare state and social Europe
Tags: benefits, fiscal burden, immigration, migration, UK, welfare state
Language barriers? The impact of non-native English speakers in the classroom
Charlotte Geay, Sandra McNally, Shqiponja Telhaj, 14 September 2013
Are children who are non-native speakers making education worse for native speakers? Presenting new research on England, this column uses two different research strategies showing that there are, in fact, no spillover effects. These results support other recent studies on the subject. The growing proportion of non-native English speakers in primary schools should not be a cause for concern.
In the UK, as in other countries, there has been a rapid increase in the number of non-native speakers. In England the number of non-native speakers has increased by a third in the last decade. Now, roughly one in nine children between the ages of five and 11 do not speak English as a first language.
Tags: immigration, UK
Immigration, elderly care and labour-force participation: Can immigration help women retire later?
Giovanni Peri, Agnese Romiti, Mariacristina Rossi, 8 September 2013
Elderly people assisted by immigrant carers, rather than by their sons and daughters, has become a common feature of many European countries. This column presents evidence from Italy suggesting that the immigrant presence in the home-care sector has allowed women, especially those with elderly parents, to retire from their jobs later. Increasing the retirement age has to happen over the coming decades to ensure the sustainability of developed countries’ pension systems.
During the last decade immigrants have increased their presence in the labour force of many rich countries. In several of those countries manually intensive occupations, such as those in the household service sector, have employed many of them. Particularly in Italy, immigrants have disproportionately staffed the long-term care sector for elderly people.
Topics: Gender, Labour markets
Tags: immigration, women
Immigrants reduce geographic inequality
Brian C Cadena, Brian Kovak, 12 August 2013
In the US, fewer and fewer people are moving long distances to pursue job opportunities. Presenting new research on Mexican immigrants in the US, this column argues that there are large welfare gains from the efficient spatial allocation of labour. However, welfare gains from the movement of labour are woefully understudied. If immigrants are more willing to move for a job than natives, policymakers should allow them to do so with ease. Workers should be free to move to markets offering better opportunities.
Recently, economists have noticed some disturbing trends in the US economy. Job creation, job destruction, and job-to-job switches are all in decline (Davis, Faberman, and Haltiwanger 2012; Hyatt and Spletzer 2013). Further, fewer and fewer people are making long-distance moves in order to take better jobs (Molloy, Smith, and Wozniak 2011).
Topics: Labour markets
Tags: immigration, Mexico, US
How immigrant children affect the academic achievement of native Dutch children
Asako Ohinata, Jan van Ours, 25 July 2013
Some European media have expressed concerns that the presence of immigrant children in schools may reduce the educational outcomes of native children. Analysing data from the Netherlands, this column finds that after controlling for differences within schools, the educational achievement of native children is almost completely unaffected by the presence of immigrant children.
The large inflow of immigrants into Europe has changed the makeup of school student populations. The impact of this on European school systems is a matter of headlines in some European nations. For example, some of the UK media has been reporting how teachers are under strain as they cope with the influx of immigrants moving into UK (e.g. Loveys 2010).
Tags: Dutch, Holland, immigration, Netherlands