At the time of writing (September 2015), Europe is dealing with a large influx of refugees/migrants. Many are fleeing violence in Syria and elsewhere, others come from Africa and the Middle East in search of economic opportunity.

I am interested in knowing what is the current state of the art in understanding the net economic impact of these inflows for the recipient countries in North Western Europe? I am interested in impact along a wide range of dimensions, growth, employment, etc.

In particular, I am interested in evidence that allows us to account for the specific demographic and skills profiles of these migrants. Assuming that the migrants reflect the typical UK asylum seeker, some demographic information can be seen here. The majority are male, between 20 and 50. At least in the current "crisis", the majority of migrants appear to be muslim, if that is of any consequence. I was not able to find information about skills.

  • $\begingroup$ by no means state of the art, correlations can be drawn from Hispanics to America. link $\endgroup$
    – lost
    Sep 6, 2015 at 17:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It is my impression that this is mid-term, too early to measure. While such flows were always present, the last-few-years intensification has yet to show its structural impact. $\endgroup$ Sep 7, 2015 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


I didn't see the evidences on the recent European immigration, but the event is similar to the Mariel Boatlift story in Card (1990):

The Mariel immigrants increased the population and labor force of the Miami metropolitan area by 7 percent. Most of the immigrants were relatively unskilled: as a result, the proportional increase in labor supply to less-skilled occupations and industries was much greater. Nevertheless, an analysis of wages of non-Cuban workers over the 1979-85 period reveals virtually no effect of the Mariel influx. Likewise, there is no indication that the Boatlift lead to an increase in the unemployment rates of less-skilled blacks or other non-Cuban workers. Even among the Cuban population wages and unemployment rates of earlier immigrants were not substantially effected by the arrival of the Mariels.

That's for a 7% shock. In contrast, Europe experience a 0.1% shock in labor supply. Maybe the only difference we'd find will be in the areas where immigrants settle densely.

For more reading:

In general, economists suggest that low-skilled natives suffer a bit from an influx of low-skilled immigrants (but again, we're talking about large numbers, >1% of population):

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