Seminar “Immigration and Redistribution: Evidence from 8 Million Forced Migrants”

Tuesday April 18th 2017 Nico Pestel (IZA) will give a presentation titled “Immigration and Redistribution: Evidence from 8 Million Forced Migrants”.

April 18, 2017
CPB-Office, Bezuidenhoutseweg 30, Den Haag, room 3, Braamzaal

Time:                   13:00-14:00 Hrs

Venue:                 CPB-Office, Bezuidenhoutseweg 30, Den Haag, room 3, Braamzaal

Presentation:  Nico Pestel (IZA)

Discussant:       Ernest Berkhout

Language:         English

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A valid ID-card is requested for external visitors entering the CPB-office. An estimated waiting time at the reception is 5 to 10 minutes.  Are you in possession of a ‘’Rijkspas’? If so, you can walk through directly to the seminar room, in case you filled out the following form: InterDepartementale Toegang.


This paper shows that immigration can have a profound and persistent impact on redistribution. We illustrate this based on the sudden arrival of 8 million forced migrants in West Germany in the aftermath of World War II. These migrants, after having lost all their assets, were much poorer than the population in West Germany, but had full voting rights from the time of arrival. Based on panel data for 400 West German cities, we show that cities responded to this inflow by raising business taxes and taxes on farmland, while leaving property and wage bill taxes unchanged. Further analysis suggests that these results can be explained by changes in local voting patterns. We further document a long-lasting impact of this mass immigration on people's preferences for redistribution today. People living today in places with high inflows in the 1940s display markedly stronger preferences for a large government.


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Disclaimer: 'The views and analysis presented in the seminar do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the CPB'.