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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Schirle, Tammy / de Vries, Frans / Zulehner, Christine

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Volume 10, Issue 1


Volume 18 (2018)

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Volume 1 (2001)

Immigration, Citizenship, and the Size of Government

Francesc Ortega
Published Online: 2010-03-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1935-1682.2324


I study the political sustainability of the welfare state in an environment where immigration is the main demographic force and where governments choose immigration policy. Voters anticipate their children's prospects of economic mobility and the future political consequences of today's policies. The skill distribution evolves due to intergenerational skill upgrading and immigration. I consider three regimes: permanent migration with citizenship granted by jus soli, permanent migration with jus sanguinis, and temporary migration. The main finding is that under permanent migration and jus soli there exists equilibria where redistribution is sustained indefinitely, despite constant skill upgrading. This is not the case in the other regimes. The crucial insight is that unskilled voters trade-off the lower wages from larger unskilled immigration with the increased political support for redistribution provided by the children of the current immigrants. These mechanisms are relevant for the ongoing debates over comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S, and elsewhere.

Keywords: immigration; citizenship; redistribution

About the article

Published Online: 2010-03-31

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Volume 10, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1935-1682.2324.

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European Economic Review, 2013, Volume 63, Page 206
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American Journal of Political Science, 2013, Volume 57, Number 1, Page 15
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