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February 17, 2012



Of course the other cost of immigration is incurred by the county of emigration. Skilled people from emigree countries come to find work in the UK (the NHS most notably)or come to increase their earning. Such immigration deprives the emigree country key skills. Very few commentators mention this.


@DrBlighty - surprisingly, things aren't that clear. It could be that emigration actually raises the emigree country's skills. This could be because the hope of migrating encourages people to do well at school, or because migrants return with valuable skills:

Frances Coppola

Not just bluegrass, Chris. Many Irish folk music standards have a similar theme, such as The Mountains of Morne, which is about an Irish immigrant finding that life in London is not as lucrative as he had hoped.

Not that this is limited to the Irish. The English folk song "A north country maid" is about a girl who left her rural home to find work in London and found herself trapped there through lack of money. Desperately homesick, she longs for a similarly displaced Northern laddie to marry her and take her back home. At that time that would have been the only solution to her problem.

Account Deleted

Immigrants are routinely presented as an undifferentiated, working-class lump. (This in part explains why "high-value" migrants like Bob Diamond fall outisde the cognitive frame.)

The Irish immigrants to Britain are unlike other groups for a number of specific reasons, so you have to be cautious in drawing too many inferences from their data.

Most long-distance immigrants tend to be among the brightest and best from their home country: those with get-up-and-go tend to get up and go. They are also not the poorest, as they need some money to fund their migration. It's an investment.

The physical proximity of Ireland meant that immigration to Britain was cheap. This was further facilitated by the long history of transhumance (e.g. seasonal potato pickers in Ayrshire) and long-established communities providing a point of entry to certain industries (ship-building on Clydeside, car manufacturing in Birmingham, building in London).

The consequence of this, in tandem with punishing poverty at home (and social conservatism under De Valera), was to lower the psychic threshold for emigration between Ireland and Britain. In other words, many individuals who were not psychologically robust (or open-minded) enough travelled over.

The IZA study you quote compares two groups: those who never left Ireland and those who left but came back. By definition, the latter cohort will include a higher proportion of self-identifying "failures". The "successes" will have been more likely to stay in Britain, assimilate, and thus feel less alienated.

Jimmy Hill

Surely the libertarian paternalist policy that would most enhance welfare is a free or subsidised repatriation service?

Some immigrants will enjoy a better life by moving to a new country yet tougher immigration controls could prevent this from happening.

Subsidising a return trip home allows the individual immigrant to asses their own welfare rather than the government making decisions on the basis of immigrants in general.


Isn't it even possible that those who choose to emigrate have pre-existing characteristics associated with drinking problems? Immigrants are aren't a random group drawn from their home population.

I think there is some evidence that the genetic component of alcoholism may also be associated with risk-taking. This might be one way in which immigrants are different from their population of origin.

Account Deleted

@Jimmy Hill, a logicaly consistent libertarian, whether of the right or left, would favour the free and unfettered movement of people. They'd be unlikely to favour an exercise in social engineering, let alone one managed by the government, which is what such a subsidy would imply.

@Sven, I'd be curious to see the evidence you mention, showing a genetic link between alcoholism and risk-taking. This would go a long way to support my theory that the Pilgrim Fathers were actualy out on the lash and took a wrong turning.


One would think that if this were a significant problem we'd see a tremendous decrease in immigration. It's not hard in this day and age to get the memo: It actually kinda sucks here, don't come.

Alas, they keep coming.

Mark Wadsworth

That's why there's the expression "home sick". It would appear that it is a genuine illness.

David Friedman

I haven't read the study this piece is based on, but one possibility that occurs to me is that immigration might lead to higher incomes, which might lead to increased ability to afford alcohol.

Laban Tall

I like it, Chris. The old one-two. Watch the hand.

Alternate a post about the unemployed, and other people's lack of empathy with them, with a post about immigrants, and other people's lack of empathy with them.

No possible connection between the two, of course.

"The main purpose of the bourgeois in relation to the worker is, of course, to have the commodity labour as cheaply as possible, which is only possible when the supply of this commodity is as large as possible in relation to the demand for it"


Its the Famine you fools. It takes a while to recover from.



Does British Racial Citizenship and Racial Examination matter?



After researching the immigration issue (in Europe at least) for quite a bit of time now, I have come to the conclusion that much of the blame for their lack of integration cannot be placed on them. Look at any of the comments for conservative bloggers like Ed West. There is seriously a concern about things like "race suicide" and the "disappareance of the white phenotype." All the rantings and ravings about multiculturism and "political correctness" are heavily racialized.

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