NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Migration, Social Standards and Replacement Incomes: How to Protect Low-income Workers in the Industrialized Countries Against the Forces of Globalization and Market Integration

Hans-Werner Sinn

NBER Working Paper No. 10798
Issued in September 2004
NBER Program(s):   PE

This paper discusses how an industrialized country could defend the wages and social benefits of its unskilled workers against wage competition from immigrants. It shows that fixing social standards harms the workers and that fixing social replacement incomes implies migration into unemployment. Defending wages with replacement incomes brings about first-order efficiency losses that outweigh the budget cost to the government. By contrast, wage subsidies involve much smaller welfare losses. While the exclusion of migrants from a national replacement program does not improve the situation, the (temporary) exclusion of migrants from a national subsidy program makes it possible to avoid a distortion of the migration pattern.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10798

Published: Sinn, Hans-Werner. "Migration And Social Replacement Incomes: How To Protect Low-Income Workers In The Industrialized Countries Against The Forces Of Globalization And Market Integration," International Tax and Public Finance, 2005, v12(4,Aug), 375-393.

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