Invandrare tar risker

De två Harvard-professorerna Alberto Alesina och Ed Glaeser frågar i ”Why Doesn’t the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?”, publicerad i Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, hur det kommer sig att USA har en mindre omfattande välfärdsstat än de flesta europeiska länder. De anger bl.a. denna möjliga delförklaring:

The open frontier in a country of immigrants strengthened individualistic feelings and beliefs in equality of opportunities rather than equality of outcomes. In fact, one may argue that self-selection led to a systematic difference between those Europeans who migrated to the United States and those who did not. The former might have been those that, ceteris paribus, were more responsive to individual incentives and less risk averse. This, of course, contributed to cementing an anti-statist feeling that still pervades American culture.

Tesen om invandrares riskattityd får visst stöd i en ny studie, ”Direct Evidence on Risk Attitudes and Migration”, publicerad i Review of Economics and Statistics (preliminär gratisversion här):

We use newly available data from the German Socio-Economic Panel to measure directly the relationship between migration and risk attitudes. We find that individuals who are more willing to take risks are more likely to migrate. Our estimates are substantial compared to unconditional migration probabilities, as well the effects of conventional determinants of migration, and are robust to controlling for a variety of demographic characteristics. We find no evidence that our results are the result of reverse causality.

Måhända drar ett land långsiktigt stor nytta av att välkomna risktagande människor från andra länder.

Se även inläggen ”Kulturell grund för välfärdsstaten” och ”Invandring och offentlig sektors storlek”.