Study: Testing The Welfare Magnet Hypothesis

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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31 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    This doesn’t make it wrong to offer social insurance or a welfare state.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      It’s an argument against offering it to immigrants and potentially a problem for states within the US but only an argument.

      It certainly had no bearing on offering welfare to citizens.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      “Social insurance” is a weird euphemism. With actual insurance, you pay a premium proportional to your risk, and then you file claims as appropriate. With “social insurance,” the people paying the premiums are a group largely distinct from the people filing claims, and the premium is inversely proportional to risk.

      That aside, having a welfare state or not isn’t really a binary thing. It’s on a spectrum. In 2018, Denmark spent over 28% of GDP on social welfare spending, while Canada spent about 17%. Is the optimal level of social welfare spending really 2/3 more than what Canada spends? Maybe Denmark could prioritize the welfare of its taxpayers just a bit more and its tax-receivers just a bit less.Report

      • Avatar Swami in reply to Brandon Berg
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        says:

        And total net social spending shows the US is second only to France in percent of GDP. (Second chart).

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_social_welfare_spending

        If they multiplied Actual per capita GDP by the second chart, the US would be number one for net social spending per capita adjusted for taxes and PPP.

        Enough to make even the most bleeding heart progressive proud.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Swami
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          says:

          Note that “net social spending” includes certain categories of private spending, most significantly health insurance premiums (though not out-of-pocket health spending). It also includes payouts from private defined-benefit pensions. So much of that is upper- and middle-class people essentially spending money on themselves, rather than money redistributed downwards.Report

  2. Avatar Murali
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    says:

    The graph doesn’t match the conclusion. If immigration from outside the EU dropped upon introducing the welfare, then introducing welfare doesn’t attract people but repels them instead. What am I missing?Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    It is also true that a robust economy that is producing jobs and real wage gains, will also be a magnet for immigration.

    Further studies have also proven that people migrate away from places of lawless violence and injustice, towards places of peace and safety.

    These observations rest on the astonishing idea that if a society is a pleasant and comfortable place to be, it will attract new members.

    Please fund my Patreon account for more of these startling insights.Report

    • Avatar Swami in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      Knowledge is power.

      The question to be answered was does increasing benefits or eligibility for immigrants increase immigration rates, all else equal? We just got two additional data points supporting the “yes” answer to this.

      The ramifications depend upon one”s goals and values. For places or people who want more immigration, here is a possible lever. For people who want less immigration, or perhaps want to defend against a certain type of immigrant (one coming with the goal of living off of others?) the opposite.

      Another obvious conclusion might be that one way to INCREASE welfare benefits is to do in a way which excludes immigrants for a certain period. This could make the increase more palatable to some voters.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      I have been assured many times that people most certainly do not immigrate to take advantage of welfare benefits, but only to work. This suggests that a) a substantial portion of immigrants do seem to be motivated by the prospect of receiving welfare benefits, and b) they can be discouraged from immigrating by reducing the welfare benefits they will be eligible to receive, leading to a higher average quality of immigrant.

      You may think that this is obvious, but many of your fellow travellers will vociferously deny it.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    We should have a welfare state that is a lot more like Denmark’s.

    No, wait. Um.

    1. Open Immigration
    2. Robust Welfare State
    3. Multiculturalism

    Pick two?

    Anyway, you can see us argue this back in 2017, if you’re so inclined.Report

    • Avatar Swami in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      There is also of course the issue of dynamism and how that is influenced by the size of social safety nets. The argument being that beyond a certain point (probably well above zero), enhanced social safety nets decrease economic dynamism.

      And the less dynamic places depend upon the more dynamic for the engine of of economic growth (which can fund safety nets).Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      1. Controlled immigration
      2. Robust welfare state
      3. Multiculturalism

      You may only pick three.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        If we agree that “multiculturalism” doesn’t mean “different cultures” but “different restaurants”, I agree with all three of those!

        We should be more like Denmark!Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          What’s wrong with different cultures?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            I don’t understand how you’re using the word “wrong” so I’ll give an engineering answer. Let me know if you would prefer me to give one that explains, morally, how some cultures are better than others.

            Some of them have different attitudes toward matters of morality than we assume. Stuff like the personhood of women, the morality of same-sex marriage, and whether different races are better/worse than other different races.

            There are some parts of these cultures that are incompatible with our culture (or the culture we pretend we have, anyway).

            If these incompatibilities are not resolved, it will create a justice issue under our government’s jurisdiction that will need to be addressed. Addressing it will involve getting these other people to change their moral assumptions.

            Or, at least, learn how to make mealy-mouthed pious statements while ignoring that they still believe what they used to believe. (Which is also a cultural change.)Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              There are some parts of these cultures that are incompatible with our culture (or the culture we pretend we have, anyway).

              Um, doesn’t this describe the rural conservative Christian Trump voters?

              It’s an honest question, not a gotcha jibe.
              Because I agree with this paragraph:

              If these incompatibilities are not resolved, it will create a justice issue under our government’s jurisdiction that will need to be addressed. Addressing it will involve getting these other people to change their moral assumptions.

              But what do you think it looks like when we “resolve” these incompatibilities? How can we “change the moral assumptions” of Trump voters?

              Consider this complaint we hear from conservatives, that American liberals are more at ease with a Somali Muslim than a Georgian Baptist. There is truth to this, isn’t there?

              What I’m suggesting is that the biggest obstacle to multiculturalism isn’t incompatibility between Americans and immigrants, but between Americans and immigrants, and a small group of other Americans.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Um, doesn’t this describe the rural conservative Christian Trump voters?

                Do you think that this undercuts my point?

                I think it bolsters it.

                But what do you think it looks like when we “resolve” these incompatibilities? How can we “change the moral assumptions” of Trump voters?

                Well, one way would be to have many of them die from opiate overdoses and replace them with immigrants.

                Consider this complaint we hear from conservatives, that American liberals are more at ease with a Somali Muslim than a Georgian Baptist. There is truth to this, isn’t there?

                See? Everybody agrees.

                What I’m suggesting is that the biggest obstacle to multiculturalism isn’t incompatibility between Americans and immigrants, but between Americans and immigrants, and a small group of other Americans.

                Now we just get to ask where ownership of change and the rate of change resides.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              RE: Some of them have different attitudes toward matters of morality than we assume.

              “Morality” is just the tip of the iceberg.
              Marriage rates.
              Attitude towards education.
              (Note this implies effects on labor efficiency and income).
              Willingness and likelihood to end up on welfare.
              Willingness and likelihood to commit crimes.
              Willingness and likelihood to report crimes and trust the police.

              That last one is why criminals in certain parts of a city won’t go over a street line. They understand other streets play by different rules.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Okay, extreme example.

            One of Colorado’s plains towns has a large Somali refugee population. They came to work in the meat processing plant. At least some of them came from parts of Somalia where it was acceptable to beat your wife when you got home from a bad day at work. It took considerable effort to get through to the elders whom everyone looks to for guidance, none of whom spoke English, that they had to convince the entire community that wife-beating was wrong and not tolerated in America.

            Multiculturalism, within limits.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Cain
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              says:

              I’ve seen similar stories about Hmong refugees from Southeast Asia.

              And of course, my interest here is in what you are describing as “effort to get through to the elders”.

              Imagine these were conservative Christians who thought corporal punishment of children was acceptable. Or that forcible conversion therapy was good for adolescents confused about their gender.

              And imagine a governmental child welfare agency trying to ” get through to the elders” that this was no longer acceptable in America.

              This is what Jaybird’s “resolution of incompatible cultures” looks like up close and personal.

              It is difficult and unpleasant and results in a lot of bitter feelings. And in the cases I am aware of, the immigrants from Uzbeki-beki-bekistan adapted much more easily than the ones from Trumpistan.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Well, there are a lot of people out there who think that Multiculturalism means people whose children don’t go to your schools will still open restaurants near where you live and work.

                And it doesn’t mean that.

                And they always boggle, with wide-eyed incredulity, that someone might be opposed to Multiculturalism. Don’t you like dumplings? Are you opposed to spices in your food?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s only acceptable for Christian evangelists, not for persons of other faiths.

                I’m always amused by conservatives freaking out about Muslim Law coming to town, when if you stripped out the religious overtones, they’d trip over themselves getting on the wagon.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Speaking of Immigration…

    Report

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