Sweden’s Globalisation Council have just published a report I have written entitled "Is Free Migration Compatible with a European-Style Welfare State?" Milton Friedman thought that it wasn’t. Conventional wisdom on both left and right concurs. I disagree.
The abstract is as follows:
This report examines the interaction between free migration and a European-style welfare state, with particular reference to Sweden. It considers whether rich-country welfare states act as a magnet for migrants from poorer countries, examines immigrants’ net impact on public finances, and suggests ways of reconciling free migration with a generous welfare state. It looks at how the broader economic impact of free migration would affect the affordability of the welfare state and examines the claim that greater diversity reduces political support for the welfare state. It concludes that while free migration may pose challenges to a European-style welfare state, the two are not incompatible. On the contrary: by boosting economic growth, free migration could actually make the welfare state more affordable.
To mark the report’s publication, Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s most prestigious newspaper, has just published an article that outlines some of my reasoning and conclusions. Swedish speakers may be interested in reading it here