Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Immigrant welfare receipt across Europe

an article by Alan Barrett (Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) and Bertrand Maître (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, Ireland) published in International Journal of Manpower Volume 34 Issue 1 (2013)


In this paper, the authors aim to assess whether immigrants are more likely to receive welfare payments relative to natives across a range of European countries. They also seek to examine relative rates of poverty across immigrants and natives.

The authors use data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions for 2007. They present descriptive statistics and results from probit regressions.

The authors find very little evidence that immigrants are more likely to receive welfare payments when all payments are considered together. This is true whether they use descriptive analysis or regression analysis in which they control for relevant characteristics such as age, gender and education. They do find evidence of higher rates of poverty among immigrants.

Research limitations/implications
As the data used do not give an indication of the length of time an immigrant has been in a destination country, the authors are unable to assess whether their observed patterns change with length of stay.

Social implications
The results run counter to what seems to be a popular perception, namely, that immigrants are intensive users of welfare. Hence, attitudes may be altered.

While other papers may have considered this issue, to the authors’ knowledge, none have linked the poverty and welfare analyses. The findings raise the possibility that welfare systems are failing to keep immigrants out of poverty and this is important in the context of the inclusion agenda.

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