The Guardian reports on Martin Kahanec's paper: No 'welfare migration' in the EU

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The Guardian reports on Martin Kahanec's paper: No 'welfare migration' in the EU

Published on March 28, 2013

The Guardian reports on a recent article by Martin Kahanec busting the myth of welfare magnet of migration. „Research challenges idea that UK attracts immigration with ‚welfare magnet‘ and says language and skills are bigger pull,“ the Guardian reflects.


A comprehensive study of 19 European countries over a period from 1993 to 2008 co-authored by Martin Kahanec finds that cross-country differences or within-country changes in unemployment beneft spending (UBS) do not affect migration flows within or to Europe. The study shows that for within EU migration UBS plays no role whatsoever. For migration flows from outside the EU a mild statistical correlation is found, but it is shown to be very small and statistically insignificant if confounding factors and reverse causality are taken into account. “All estimates for immigrants of EU origin indicate that flows within the EU are statistically not related to unemployment benefit generosity,” Kahanec says. “This suggests that the so-called ‚welfare migration‘ debate is misguided and not based on empirical evidence. Immigrants are not shopping for welfare,” he adds. | Other factors like unemployment rates, level of gross domestic product, and existing social contacts in the country of destination have a much stronger effect on the flow of migration than welfare benefits. “In terms of policy, there should be a paradigm shift in this discussion – away from the policing of immigrants and towards a more active facilitation of mobility,” Kahanec concludes.

Read the complete study: Corrado Giulietti, Martin Guzi, Martin Kahanec, and Klaus F. Zimmermann, Unemployment Benefits and Immigration: Evidence from the EU, forthcoming in: International Journal of Manpower, 2013, 34 (1/2). IZA DP No. 6075


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