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http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/we-asked-an-expert-happen-if-eu-opened… - Input Junkie
May 3rd, 2015
07:16 am


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A bunch of arguments that immigration makes people better off--
Would European workers experience a significant dip in wages? Is it possible for a market to integrate, say, millions of new labourers, some of who are untrained?

Future flows of immigrants, within a large range, are likely to raise the wages and employment of typical European workers.

Some of the best new evidence we have on this comes from economists Mette Foged and Giovanni Peri. No one out there has better data or more scientific methods than these researchers. They have studied the wages and employment of every individual worker in Denmark from 1991 to 2008 (yes, everyone) and tracked how they responded to a large influx of refugees from places like Somalia and Afghanistan. Those immigrants caused native unskilled wages and employment to rise.

To see why, you have to take a step back. Certainly, when there is a single job in construction or child care, a migrant filling that job means that a native does not fill it. But that is just the beginning of how a labour market works. When there are immigrants around, native workers make different choices. What Foged and Peri show is that low-skill native Danes responded to migrant inflows by specialising in occupations requiring more complex tasks and less manual labour.

Beyond that, other research has shown that natives acquire more skill when immigration rises. And firms adjust their investments when immigrants are present, shifting away from technologies that eliminate low-skill jobs for both low-skill immigrants and low-skill natives. Most simply of all, foreign workers are not just workers, they are also consumers. Immigrants at low wages tend to consume products, like fast food and budget clothing, that are made and sold by other low-wage workers.

All of these things mean that low-skill immigrants end up both taking jobs and creating jobs. The balance, in the best research we have on Europe, has been positive even in places were politicians and activists say that it must be negative. Communicating that fact will be a permanent challenge, because the ways that immigrants fill jobs are direct and visible; the ways that they create jobs are indirect and invisible.

Additionally, some immigrants are entrepreneurs and create jobs.

The article also mentions that immigrants generally contribute more in taxes than they get in government benefits, but in Great Britain, asylum seekers are not permitted to work and therefore receive more in government benefits.

Not letting asylum seekers work is an astonishingly cruel and stupid policy.

Link thanks to andrewducker.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1066414.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:May 9th, 2015 09:10 pm (UTC)
In terms of abstract efficiency, it makes sense that if you remove artificial barriers between potential work and people who wish to perform it, human needs will be met better. From a more concrete, socially contextual standpoint, such barriers create divisions within the working class which weaken its bargaining power, especially as they typically aren't matched by comparable restrictions on the movement of capital. Hence the radical labor movement's traditional slogan, For a World Without Borders!
[User Picture]
Date:May 9th, 2015 10:22 pm (UTC)
What do you think it would take to convince the general public that strangers aren't a threat?
[User Picture]
Date:May 10th, 2015 01:44 am (UTC)
The most important thing is probably getting them acquainted so that they aren't strangers any more. That's certainly made a huge difference for the LGBT struggle. In this respect the undocumented immigrants who've taken the risk of "coming out of the shadows" may be quite important.
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