International Tax and Public Finance

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 93–111 | Cite as

Migration and the welfare state: The economic power of the non-voter?

  • Kira Boerner
  • Silke UebelmesserEmail author


This paper investigates the impact of emigration on the political choice of the size of the welfare state. Mobility has two countervailing effects: the political participation effect and the tax base effect. With emigration, the composition of the constituency changes. This increases the political influence of the less mobile part of the population. But the new political majority then also has to take into account that emigration reduces tax revenues and thereby affects the feasible set of redistribution policies. We find that the direction of the total effect of migration depends on the initial income distribution in the economy. Our results also contribute to the empirical debate on the validity of the median-voter approach in cross-country studies for explaining the relation between income inequality and redistribution levels.


Migration Redistribution Voting 


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MunichMunich
  2. 2.Center for Economic StudiesUniversity of MunichMunich

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