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Immigrants as future voters

Arye Hillman and Ngo Long

CIRANO Working Papers from CIRANO

Abstract: Immigration policies in western democracies have often been contrary to the policies predicted by the mainstream theory of international economics. In particular, political parties that, according to economic theory, should adopt policies beneficial for lower-income voter-constituencies, have not protected workers from labor-market competition or from a fiscal burden of financing welfare-dependent immigrants. We explain the contradiction by accounting for immigrants as future voters. We identify a political principal-agent problem based on ego-rents from political office. Our theory predicts voter defection from worker-supported political-establishment parties to new-entrant anti-immigration political candidates and parties. We give a hearing to alternative interpretations of the evidence. Les politiques d'immigration dans les démocraties occidentales ont souvent été contraires aux politiques prédites par la théorie dominante de l'économie internationale. En particulier, les partis politiques qui, selon la théorie économique, devraient adopter des politiques favorables aux électeurs à faible revenu, n'ont pas protégé les travailleurs de la concurrence sur le marché du travail ou du fardeau fiscal du financement des immigrés dépendants de l'aide sociale. Nous expliquons la contradiction en considérant les immigrés comme futurs électeurs. Nous identifions un problème politique principal-agent basé sur les rentes de l'ego des fonctions politiques. Notre théorie prédit la défection des électeurs des partis soutenus par les travailleurs vers les nouveaux candidats et partis politiques anti-immigration. Nous donnons une audience aux interprétations alternatives.

Keywords: International migration; labor-market adjustment; immigrant welfare dependency; immigration amnesties; political entry barriers; multiculturalism; ethics of migration; exceptionalism; Migration internationale; ajustement du marché du travail; dépendance à l'aide sociale des immigrés; amnisties de l'immigration; barrières politiques à l'entrée; multiculturalisme; éthique de la migration; exceptionnalisme (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 F66 H53 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-08-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cwa, nep-int, nep-isf, nep-mig and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc

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