If you ask me, the study described below is yet another example of the government shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in research grants to discover what ordinary people already take for granted as true.
Yes, of course lavishing welfare benefits on newly-arrived immigrants will attract even more immigrants to the country. How could it be any other way? Immigrants always communicate with their families and clans back home, especially today in the age of universal cell phones. “Hey, Abdul, you should see what the stupid infidels give us for doing NOTHING! Get over here as soon as you can and climb on the gravy train!”
“Yes, that’s obvious,” you say. “It’s human nature.” Well, it’s not obvious to social scientists at Princeton. They had to study the topic at length to reach the same conclusions.
And check out the last paragraph of the article — there’s a zinger at the end.
Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:
Princeton Study: Social Benefits Attract Immigrants
by Maja Brankovic
November 19, 2019
Until now, scientific studies have shown only a weak causal relationship of receiving social welfare payments on the willingness to immigrate. A team of researchers has now investigated it using Denmark as an example and observed some surprises.
Many refugees only make their way to Europe because they know that they can collect lavish social benefits here. This thesis is particularly persistent in the immigration debate — but this so-called “pull effect” of the welfare state is controversial in research. Many studies to date have at best pointed to a low magnetic effect of generous social welfare payments.
Surveys of people from countries such as Syria or Eritrea, for example, have shown that immigration policy in destination countries is only one factor among many — and not the most important of all.
A group of researchers led by Princeton economist Henrik Kleven now counters this skepticism about the pull of a strong welfare state with hard figures from Denmark: According to the figures, there have been significantly fewer immigrants from countries outside the EU every year since the Danish government cut benefits specifically for migrants from this group.
The researchers selected Denmark for two reasons in order to find out what influence the level of social benefits has on migration decisions: Firstly, the small country, with a population of just over five and a half million, has a welfare state that is even more developed than in other Scandinavian countries — a circumstance that could be particularly tempting for immigrants, as the researchers write in their study, which has just been published as a working paper at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Secondly, there have been several cuts in social policy in recent years: the first in 2002, when the newly elected centre-right government cut social benefits for foreigners from outside the EU by up to 50 per cent; the second in 2012, when the newly elected centre-left government withdrew the law; and the third in 2015, when the centre-right government regained power and reintroduced its 2002 regulation.
In addition, the phases of more restrictive social policy were promoted aggressively: With the 2015 change, for example, the Danish government launched an advertising campaign in Lebanese newspapers explicitly drawing attention to the cuts in benefits for immigrants from non-EU countries, using to the motto: “There will be less money here in the future.”
The effect the researchers found in the data was large. With the reduction in social benefits for non-EU nationals in 2002, net immigration from this immigrant group decreased by 5,000 persons per year compared to average annual migration movements before the change in the law. And that’s not all: when the centre-left government reversed the law, immigration figures from the affected group of countries immediately rose again — to almost the same level as before.
Measured against the fact that before the first policy change only around 135,000 from the countries concerned lived in Denmark at all, the difference was considerable. Panu Poutvaara, a migration researcher at the Ifo Institute in Munich, also points to the redirection effects of Denmark’s tightened immigration policy. “It is plausible that following the policy change many of these people didn’t stay in the country, but went to other EU countries instead,” he says.
In a study published in 2018, a team led by the Ifo researcher Till Nikolka demonstrated a similar effect when examining the consequences of tightening the family reunification rule in Denmark. According to the study, not only have fewer people come to Denmark as a result of the change in the law — in particular, significantly more Danish citizens with a migration background emigrated to Sweden because there were less strict family reunification rules there.