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The economic benefits of migration


Written by Nathalie Bureau du Colombier, MARSEILLE on Monday, December 2nd 2019 à 14:41 | Read 385 times


Should we fear migratory phenomena? In recent years, Western populations and governments have been unhappy with the massive influx of migrants and refugees. Tackling prejudices about the negative impact of migration, Femise economists show that they are not a hindrance to economic growth, but on the contrary, benefits are real. Version française


The economic benefits of migration

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A historic peak of 63.5 million people displaced in one year, with a surge following the Arab Spring that shook North Africa and then ignited the Middle East. ©HCR
A historic peak of 63.5 million people displaced in one year, with a surge following the Arab Spring that shook North Africa and then ignited the Middle East. ©HCR
Fleeing a political regime, a dictatorship or leaving one's country, its ties, for economic reasons ... Whatever the reasons, the migratory phenomenon reached its peak in 2015. A historic peak of 63.5 million people displaced in one year, with a surge following the Arab Spring that shook North Africa and then ignited the Middle East. Faced with these unprecedented movements, Western countries were not prepared for the arrival of such a surge of migrants.

Others… strangers…scare people. According to established beliefs, they would be the cause of the increase in the tax burden and unemployment. The rise of populism reflects people's fears and fantasies. Femise economists Jamal Bouoiyour, Amal Miftah and Refk Selmi have conducted for several months an in-depth econometric study (FEM43-17) aimed at invalidating or confirming this phenomenon, from a new perspective based on the different categories of migration.

Immigration can improve growth and jobs, but a comprehensive approach is needed

« Our results are quite interesting as they robustly show that the impact of immigration
on growth is generally positive, and its impact on unemployment is negativ
e » say Femise economists in their report.

Migration flows do not increase unemployment; on the contrary, they reduce it, while some heterogeneity is captured according to the economic conditions of the host countries. How does one explain this positive impact on the host population? Explanations include the provision of new skills but also the development of new entrepreneurial activities offered to residents.

The findings of this paper imply that there are realistic ways by which immigration can affect economic outcomes in European countries. Informing public opinion in this regard could influence attitudes towards immigration and discrimination practices. 

In addition, the complexity of migration requires a comprehensive approach to policies in Europe. The implementation of European immigration policy requires taking into account the factors that attract migrants into the destination country, such as the labour market condition that could considerably influence the policy efficiency. The severeness or the benevolence of policies should be, at least, coordinated with the economic and social capacity of each European country.

Report available here
 



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