Migration, work and welfare

Authored by: Eleonore Kofman

Routledge Handbook of Immigration and Refugee Studies

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138794313
eBook ISBN: 9781315759302
Adobe ISBN: 9781317638773


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In the 1980s, Freeman (1986), an American political scientist, raised the issue of the negative effect of mass immigration on European labour markets and welfare states and that Europe would face a challenge in reconciling immigration with welfare (Jurado and Brochmann 2013). He argued that migrant workers would likely drive down wages of native workers in low skilled sectors and that cultural diversity would undermine the normative consensus of cushioning individuals and families against risks and life transitions upon which welfare states had been built. Many writers have contested this prognosis on the grounds that it transposed an American view and that forms of welfare and types of migrants in Europe differentiate the ways that states mediate the nexus between migration and welfare. Furthermore, immigration was not necessarily the main driving force behind states reforming their welfare programmes (Geddes 2003).

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