Panel Paper: Immigration and the Welfare State: A Cross-National Analysis

Friday, July 20, 2018
Building 3, Room 207 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Nathaniel Johnson, Stanford University; Graduate Center, City University of New York

This paper examines the economic outcomes of migrants across countries. In order to inform the immigration debate in the United States and elsewhere, it is important to understand cross-national differences in immigrant populations and economic outcomes. For this analysis, I use the Luxembourg Income Study Database (LIS), the largest income database of harmonized microdata. I start with an examination of demographic differences. I also assess demographic trends as older migrant cohorts assimilate and migration patterns between countries change. Next, I examine the economic outcomes of migrants. I compare two sources of outcomes: the labor market (earnings and employment rates) and the welfare state (disposable income, poverty, and inequality). Finally, I combine data on immigration policies with the LIS data. This allows for an evaluation of the intersection between immigration policy, welfare policy, and economic outcomes among migrants. I expect to find evidence supporting the conclusions of previous research, which has found that the anti-poverty effect of the welfare state differs little between immigrants and natives relative to the differences in this effect across countries. I also expect to find evidence of assimilation in labor market outcomes and welfare state outcomes. The degree of the assimilation will depend on the policies guiding immigration and welfare use in each country. These policies will play a large role in explaining differences in the economic outcomes of migrants across countries.