UCL Uncovering Politics

Do higher benefits encourage immigration?

Episode Summary

This week we ask: Do higher welfare benefits lead to higher immigration?

Episode Notes

Immigration is back near the top of the political agenda, here in the UK and elsewhere. The UK government’s so-called ‘Stop the Boats Bill’, which targets those who cross the Channel in search of asylum, is one rather extreme manifestation of the idea that you can stop unwanted migration by making it unattractive. A wider expression of the same view is the concept of ‘benefit tourism’: the idea that migrants are more likely to come if welfare benefits are higher, and that and that you can therefore reduce immigration be keeping benefits low.

Now, there are clearly questions to ask about whether such ideas are morally defensible, but it’s also important to ask whether they work on their own terms. And new research carried out here at UCL casts important doubt on that. We are joined by one of the co-authors of that research, Dr Moritz Marbach, Associate Professor in Data Science & Public Policy in the UCL Department of Political Science.


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