Quotation Weiß, Sabine, Spahl, Wanda, Kohlenberger, Judith, Buber-Ennser, Isabella. 2017. Immigration and the Social Welfare State in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland: A comparative meta-study.




This meta-study investigates recent research on the effects of immigration on the welfare state in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Due to the 2015 arrival of high numbers of refugees into Europe, the focus is on studies about asylum seekers, recognized refugees and, more generally, on forced migrants. In total, twenty recently published studies are scrutinized in a scoping review. Thereby, fiscal and macroeconomic consequences as well as the integration potential in the labour market are key topics. The studies included in the current meta-analysis yield diverse results and often do not find clear positive or negative effects, but present a variety of scenarios with differing assumptions. Our findings highlight several research gaps. First, existence as well as access to relevant data is scarce, especially at the individual level. Moreover, the funding situation for studies in the field deserves closer attention. Given the timeframe, there is a paucity of longitudinal data. Second, the majority of studies fail to clearly distinguish between different groups of migrants. Third, various recent studies have been commissioned by public or private sponsors and have not undergone scientific peer review. Moreover, a lack of self-reflexivity about possible limitations can be observed. Regarding future routes for research, two findings can be highlighted. First, nearly all studies stress the importance of human capital as a key factor for successful labour market integration. This includes educational levels as well as professional qualifications. The use of this human capital in the host country’s labour market depends crucially on policy efforts. Second, results vary substantially by nationality, legal status, gender and other characteristics of immigrants.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Working/discussion paper, preprint
Language English
Title Immigration and the Social Welfare State in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland: A comparative meta-study
Year 2017
URL https://www.oeaw.ac.at/vid/publications/serial-publications/vid-working-papers/


Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital
Weiß, Sabine (Details)
Kohlenberger, Judith (Details)
Buber-Ennser, Isabella (VID/ÖAW, Austria)
Spahl, Wanda (n.a., Germany)
Demography Group AB (Former organization)
Research Institute for Human Capital and Development FI (Former organization)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5404 Demography (Details)
5428 Migration research, emigration - (Details)
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