International Handbook on the Economics of Migration
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International Handbook on the Economics of Migration

Edited by Amelie F. Constant and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Migration economics is a dynamic, fast-growing research area with significant and rising policy relevance. While its scope is continually extending, there is no authoritative treatment of its various branches in one volume. Written by 44 leading experts in the field, this carefully commissioned and refereed Handbook brings together 28 state-of-the-art chapters on migration research and related issues.
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Chapter 26: Welfare migration

Corrado Giulietti and Jackline Wahba


For a long time economists have analyzed the consequences of immigration in host countries, and they have always been interested in why migration occurs and what its determinants are. Yet while there is a well-established body of literature focusing on the push and pull factors of immigration, such as wage differentials, macro economic conditions and social networks (see Mayda, 2010, for a survey), only recently has the topic of ‘welfare migration’ – that is whether immigrants are more likely to move to countries with generous welfare systems – generated substantial interest among scholars (a seminal work being Borjas, 1999; see also the 2012 special issue of the International Journal of Manpower on ‘Migration, the welfare state, and European labor markets’). At the same time, however, public worries about welfare migration have been growing. In recent years a controversial debate has erupted on whether immigrants are exploiting the welfare system.

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