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By Philippe Legrain 3 COMMENTS

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

Posted 05 May 2008 in Blog, Immigration, Sweden
  1. I read your DN article – good work! It really has stirred some debate on Swedish blogs, though. On the other hand that is to be expected – I know from experience that many of my fellow Swedes find it hard to digest arguments about the benefits of immigration. Which is sad.

  2. Thanks. Glad it has stimulated some debate!

  3. Joseph K says:

    Hi Phillipe,
    I’m a big fan of your book. I quote you all the time when I’m debating with those who get their information about immigration from the right wing media. I hope you don’t mind me drawing your attention to an excellent book called ‘Stuffed and Starved’ by Raj Patel. Naomi Klein describes the book as “One of the most dazzling books I’ve read in a very long time. The product of a brilliant mind and a gift to a world hungering for justice.” http://stuffedandstarved.org/drupal/taxonomy/term/40

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