Immigration is currently the most common response when asked about the most important issues facing Britain.
Professor Alan Manning, Director of the Centre for Economic Performance's research programme on Community explains why there is a demand for immigration into the UK, and what the effects of it has been:
Migration and Social Housing
Are natives discriminated against in accessing social housing? Data from the UK Citizenship Survey suggests that a large fraction of white British people feel they are discriminated against in the allocation of social housing. This paper by Diego Battiston, Richard Dickens, Alan Manning and Jonathan Wadsworth (2014) asks whether this feeling is justified. They find that in recent years immigrant households are slightly more likely than natives to be in social housing but once one controls for relevant household characteristics immigrants are significantly less likely to be in social housing than natives. An overall fall in social housing stock explains most of the fall in likelihood of natives being in social housing.
Does birthright citizenship improve integration? Work by Ciro Avitabile, Iram Clots-Figueras and Paolo Masella (2010) studies the consequences of the introduction of birthright citizenship in Germany in 2000. They look at the effect of the reform on (i) the cultural integration of immigrant parents, measured by their level of interaction with the local community and their use of German language, (ii) important economic choices such as fertility decisions and the level of parental investment on their children and (iii) health and cognitive and non-cognitive skills of children affected by the reform.
How do different generations of immigrants assimilate? A discussion paper by Alan Manning and Sanchari Roy (2007) investigates the extent and determinants of British identity among immigrants living in Britain and the views on rights and responsibilities in societies. They find that the vast majority of second generation immigrants, of whatever ethnicity or religion, think of themselves as British and that third-generation immigrants are even more likely to think of themselves in this way. The analysis of rights and responsibilities finds much larger differences in views within the UK-born population than between them and immigrants.
Further discussion of integration of second generation immigrants in France, Germany and the UK is a publication by Alan Manning and co-authors in the Economic Journal (February 2010). In another paper with Andreas Georgiadis in the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation (2012), Alan Manning present a framework for the determinants of National Identity in Britain, and use it to inform an empirical investigation of the correlates of national identity in Britain. The main conclusions are that people who feel they are treated with respect and who feel tolerated are the most likely to identify with feeling part of Britain.
Migration and wages
Does higher immigration lead to lower wages for natives? Work by Marco Manacorda, Alan Manning and Jonathan Wadsworth (2006) has shown that the answer is No: higher immigration has led to lowered wages for mainly of existing immigrants but had a very small positive effect on the wages of natives.
Do racial prejudice and labour market discrimination rise in downturns? This may occur if prejudice and discrimination are partly driven by competition over scarce resources, which intensifies during periods of economic downturn. Work by David Johnston and Grace Lordan (2014) use British Attitudes Data spanning three decades, and find that prejudice does increase with unemployment rates. Consistent with the estimated attitude changes, they find using the British Labour Force Survey that employment and wage gaps between whites and non-whites rise with unemployment. Together, the attitude and labour market results imply that non-Whites disproportionately suffer during recessions. It follows that recessions exacerbate existing racial inequalities.
Can a lack of workforce mobility explain persistent local differences in employment? This work, currently being carried out by Michael Amior and Alan Manning, try to explain why local differences in employment rates have persisted over many decades. This is often blamed on a geographically immobile workforce. They study local population adjustment in the US and UK. In both countries, there appears to be substantial (though incomplete) adjustment over ten years to initial differences in local employment rates. Given this, it is argued that the persistence in local employment rates is largely driven by persistence in local employment growth (due to long-term deindustrialisation), rather than sluggish population adjustment.
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