DP4061 | Immigration and Inter-Regional Mobility in the UK, 1982-2000

Publication Date

23/09/2003

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Abstract

The possible effects of higher immigration, raising unemployment and lowering earnings for locals, has been a contentious empirical issue and it has recently come to the fore in Britain. Most studies that look across local labour markets, chiefly for the US but recently for the UK, have found the effects of immigration to be benign. One possibility is that an influx of immigrants from abroad to a specific area simply pushes non-immigrants onwards to other localities, thereby diffusing the labour market effects over the whole economy. Examining net internal migration across 11 UK regions over two decades, we find consistently negative displacement effects. They imply that immigration to a region of foreign nationals generates between a third and two thirds as much out-migration to other regions. The effects appear to be larger and more significant for the southern regions where the inflow of foreign nationals is greatest.