The Political Economy of Skilled Immigration

Herbert Brücker, Simone Bertoli, Giovanni Facchini, Anna Maria Mayda and Giovanni Peri

in Brain Drain and Brain Gain

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199654826
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742095 | DOI:
The Political Economy of Skilled Immigration

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This chapter analyses the drivers of individual attitudes towards skilled immigration, looking at how preferences towards overall and skilled immigration change depending on the relative skill composition of the native vs. immigrant population. The chapter finds that more educated natives are less likely to favour high educational qualifications of migrants across several countries—consistent with the labour market channel—while richer individuals are more likely to—consistent with the welfare state channel under the tax adjustment model. The chapter then considers how individual preferences can be aggregated into policy outcomes in a democratic society by using a median voter model and a framework in which policy outcomes are instead the result of lobbying efforts by organized groups. The chapter does not find evidence consistent with the median voter model, but it shows that interest groups are actively engaged and effective in affecting policies towards skilled migrants.

Keywords: immigration; highly skilled migrants; selective migration policy; preferences towards immigration; median voter; interest groups

Chapter.  15934 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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