Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On the serious problems with replacement migration to Sweden (and elsewhere)

The concept of replacement migration--briefly put, the recruitment of immigrants by low-fertility countries to compensate for population aging and "gaps" in a country's age pyramid--has been quite controversial since it was proposed in a United Nations study earlier this decade. It's been taken for granted by many people, though, that were there open frontiers there'd be more than enough migrants to fill a country's gaps.

That's not necessarily so. As Daniel Rahaut argues in a paper hosted by the Swedish Institute for Policy Growth Studies (in Swedish here), there's no particular reason to think that migrants will necessarily come to a particular country, or that if they do they'll possess the skills necessary. Examining different regions of Eurasia, Rahaut suggests that a variety of factors including a lack of migration history to Sweden, the idiosyncrasies of the Swedish market including the need to master the Swedish language and a highly regulated economy, population aging in sending countries, and the lack of people with the requisite skills, will make replacement migration difficult. While there are reasons to disagree with Rahaut's analysis--in the case of Russia, for instance, there's no reason to think that population aging will discourage emigration among shrunken cohorts, while migration networks can always be set up with potential sending countries--the overall thrust of his argument deserves to be seriously listened to.


Anonymous said...

Randy, you'd better update the links to the policy papers. It seems, that the Institute has closed down in the spring of 2009.

I could still download the English-language file, but not the Swedish-language.

Randy McDonald said...

Gotcha. Thanks!

Jhon Staphen said...

this is really information posting about problems with replacement migration to Sweden. thanks for post.
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