Social Housing and Location Choices of Immigrants in France

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IZA- Bonn – In the context of increasing ethnic and racial tensions in several European countries and growing influence of far right political parties in some of these countries, welfare use by immigrants (and more generally, the cost of immigration) is gaining importance in both the political and scientific debates. Research on this topic has emerged in the 1990s’ in the USA leading to some controversial findings (Borjas (1990); Borjas (1999); Kaushal (2005)). In Europe, and particularly in France,such studies remain very rare. Recently, some empirical research tried to measure immigrants’responses to di erences in welfare systems across European countries. The idea is to measure the extent to which the choice of a destination country within the European continent is correlated with the more or less generosity of its welfare system. Research on this topic finds little empirical
support to the welfare magnets hypothesis elaborated by Borjas (Brucker, Epstein, McCormick, Saint-Paul, Venturini, and Zimmermann (2002); Nannestad (2007)). Moreover, several studies address the issue of the validity of the welfare magnets approach in the European context. Immigration legislations and policies are so different across European countries, on the one hand, and the process of legal immigration is so difficult in the context of restrictive policies widespread all over the continent, on the other hand, that speaking of immigrants’ choices of their destination country is quite unrealistic. Evidence has been more convincing on immigrants’ responses to geographical differences in the sizes of the foreign-born populations, or co-ethnics populations, rather than to welfare differentials (Card (2007); Edin, Fredriksson, and Åslund (2003); Zavodny (2005)). Network effects seem to be more powerful than welfare magnets.

Read more – PDF-file: http://www.crest.fr/fougere_fichiers/dp5557.pdf

The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn is a local and virtual international research center and a place of communication between science, politics and business. IZA is an independent nonprofit organization supported by Deutsche Post Foundation. The center is associated with the University of Bonn and offers a stimulating research environment through its international network, workshops and conferences, data service, project support, research visits and doctoral program. IZA engages in (i) original and internationally competitive research in all fields of labor economics, (ii) development of policy concepts, and (iii) dissemination of research results and concepts to the interested public.
IZA Discussion Papers often represent preliminary work and are circulated to encourage discussion.
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