The Economics of Cultural Diversity
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The Economics of Cultural Diversity

Edited by Peter Nijkamp, Jacques Poot and Jessie Bakens

The populations of many countries in the world are becoming more culturally diverse. This spurs a growing need for an informed debate on the socio-economic implications of cultural diversity. This book offers a solid statistical and econometric perspective on this topical subject by bringing together studies from different countries in Europe and North America. The research in this volume sheds light on several consequences of cultural diversity, including positive impacts on innovation, growth and entrepreneurship, with contributions highlighting how there can be negative social effects on communities. Throughout the volume, it is evident that the effects of cultural diversity on socio-economic outcomes depend largely on the characteristics of local economies, populations and communities.
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Chapter 15: International financial transfers by foreign labour: remittances from informal migrants

Masood Gheasi, Peter Nijkamp and Piet Rietveld


Informal economic activities, such as house cleaning, taking care of the elderly, or childcare, are by now a widespread feature of advanced economies. The demand for low-cost labour creates employment opportunities for undocumented migrants, who readily accept a low wage for long hours of work. For undocumented migrants, finding a job is essential, for two main reasons: firstly, to finance their own needs in the host country, and, secondly, to support their family back home. Although tough rules have been imposed by advanced economies to stem the flow of illegal migrants, this flow has not yet been stopped. Instead, it has encouraged the global criminal economy, especially in the form of human traffickers who bring illegal migrants into developed countries. The Economist (16 October 1999, cited in Jones et al., 2006) indicated that in the late 1990s human traffickers earned L20 billion per year by smuggling over 30 million migrants each year. According to various studies, the total number of undocumented (also called ‘informal’ or ‘unregistered’) immigrants in Western Europe was estimated to have been around 2.6 million in 1991, and this number was forecast to have doubled by the end of that decade (Bodvarsson and van den Berg, 2009). The Netherlands has similarly experienced an increase in the number of illegal migrants. Van der Heijden et al. (2011) have estimated the total number of illegal immigrants for the year 2009.

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