Suppressing Resistance to Low-Skill Migration

Assaf Razin*, Efraim Sadka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Just like any other trade activity, migration tends to generate gains to all parties involved, the migrants as well as the native population, if markets are well-functioning. But typically these gains tend to be rather small. However, when the labor market is mal-functioning, migration may exacerbate the imperfections in the market. Consequently, it could lead to losses to the host-country population, which can be quite sizable. An additional problem raised by migration is the toll it imposes on the welfare state. As a democracy, the host-country cannot exclude migrants from various entitlement programs and public services. As a consequence, the modern welfare state could find it more and more costly to run its various programs when they attract low-income migrants. These considerations may help explain why there is strong resistance to migration. Consequently, to be able to benefit from migration, one may want to improve the functioning of the markets (with a compensation to wage earners that compete with unskilled migrants) and to downsize the scope of the state entitlement programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-424
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Tax and Public Finance
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Human capital
  • Migration and the welfare state
  • Rigid wages


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