This site is for archive purposes. Please visit for latest updates
Go to Top

Migration states and welfare states: Why is America different from Europe?

Razin, A. & Sadka, E. (2014) “Migration states and welfare states: Why is America different from Europe?“, VoxEU Organisation, 01 September.


European migration exhibits a bias towards low-skilled workers, whereas the US attracts the majority of the world’s skilled migrants. At the same time, the welfare system in Europe is more generous than the one in the US. This column describes an analytical framework that can explain the existence of these differences. Whether a group (union) of member states competes or coordinates its policies has an impact on the skill composition of its migrants and the generosity of the welfare system.

European welfare and migration policies are strikingly different from states within the US. Over the last half century, Europe ended up with 85% of all unskilled migrants to developed countries, whereas the US retains its innovative edge by attracting 55% of the world-educated migrants.


Relevant posts: