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Effects of immigration upon UK fiscal system. Advantage or drawback?

Enrique Muñoz-Salido

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Nowadays, many people are claiming a new regulation for the wave of immigrants in the UK. There are a wide range of purposes around it, from establish work permits for skilled workers to make Students from the EU pay the same student fee rates as International students.

As UK census gives no indication of the immigrants’ status or intended length of stay, there is no positive or negative discrimination in this way, so here it is used the UN recommendation for defining a long-term international migrant. That is, a migrant is someone who changes his or her country of usual residence for a period of at least a year, so that the country of destination effectively becomes the country of usual residence.

Analyzing the data, about 7.5 million people (11.9% of the UK population at the time) came to the UK between 2001 and 2011. In 2008, the UK government began phasing in a new points-based immigration system for people from outside of the European Economic Area. Just in 2013, 526,000 people arrived to live in the UK whilst 314,000 left (it’s to say a net inward migration was 212,000. The number of people immigrating to the UK increased between 2012 and 2013 by 28,000, whereas the number emigrating fell by 7,000. In 2014, approximately 125,800 foreign citizens were naturalized as British citizens. The Reference Table from the Office for National Statistics of the UK shows the immigration estimates into the UK (pink color), emigration estimates out of the UK (blue color) and the net migration –combined effect of immigration and emigration (superimposed rectangles).

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There is a large amount of causes which politicians put forward to justify their particular immigration policy side. Listening to the wide range of political statements regarding to this, it can be heard that it is highly likely that a referendum on an exit from the EU occurs if UKIP supports Conservatives if they fall short of a majority. In the meantime, Conservatives says EU migrants’ rights of free movement will be re-negotiated with Brussels and there will be further crackdowns on abuse of the immigration system by closing bogus colleges and making it tougher for illegal immigrants to remain in Britain, in order to perpetrate David Cameron’s promise to cut net immigration to tens of thousands. On the other hand, it can be heard some politicians pledge in their election manifesto to remain in the EU, and to allow high-skill immigration to support key sectors of the economy, ensuring work, as Liberal Democrats hold. Or even that people who have lived illegally in the country for five years will be allowed to remain unless they pose a serious danger to public safety and that foreign nationals with resources or desirable skills should not be given preferential in the migration policy, as Green Party promises.

Leaving behind these political pledges and opposing views, is it really profitable to regulate immigration from a fiscal system point of view? Dustmann and Frattini, researches from the University College of London and the University of Milan have analysed the recent wave of immigrants – arriving in the UK since 2000 and driving the stark increase in the UK’s foreign born population, and concluding in their academic paper published in the The Economic Journal that immigrants “have contributed far more in taxes than they have received in benefits. Moreover, by sharing the cost of fixed public expenditures, they have reduced the financial burden of these fixed obligations for natives. These findings place the UK in a far more favorable position than its European neighbors”. In addition, their investigation of recent immigration to the UK reveals that, “even one-third of UK immigration is through movement within the EEA and cannot be regulated, the UK is still able to attract highly educated and skilled immigrants. This surprisingly positive trend, which continued even throughout the last recession distinguished the UK sharply from the other European and non- European counties. This ability to attract highly skilled immigrants is a strong and important feature of the UK economy”. The analysis also raises questions unexplored like the remigration of immigrants, as they tend to return to their country of origin after reaching an individual career peak which would bring additional relief to the UK’s fiscal system. Or whether it is immigrants who perform strongly or those whose contributions fall below average that are the most likely to remain.

So why these strongly politic opposing views in light of research studies such as this? If it is clear that immigration has positive effects on the UK fiscal system, why some politics forces want to keep away the immigration waves far from their country? It could be said that a positive fiscal effect cannot be the only cause to hold an open immigration policy in a country. However, it is far more a basic point to put forward a more objective policy in order to come closer together politicians’ opposing views regarding to immigration and finally adopt a much more efficient immigration policy that really benefits the country.

Enrique is an MSc Candidate in Social Anthropology at Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford. His research interests lie at the intersection of human behaviour and social interactions and his top analytical skills comprise macro and micro data analysis and statistical methods. Prior to joining Oxford, Enrique completed his MSc in Economics (distinction) at the University of Brighton, UK, where he was a Santander Scholar, and his undergraduate degree at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain.

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Economy

Côte d’Ivoire: Robust growth under the looming threat of climate change impacts

MD Staff

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According to the Economic Update for Côte d’Ivoire, published today, the short- and medium-term outlook for the Ivorian economy remains positive. The economy is expected to maintain a steady trajectory, with GDP growth of 7 to 7.5% in the coming years. Titled “So Tomorrow Never Dies: Côte d’Ivoire and Climate Change,” the report highlights the urgent need to implement measures to ensure that climate change impacts do not imperil this economic progress and plunge millions of Ivorians into poverty.

“The solid performance of the Ivorian economy, which registered growth of almost 8% in 2017, is essentially due to the agricultural sector, which experienced positive climate conditions. The economy also benefited from a period of calm after the political and social instability of the first half of 2017 and from more favorable conditions on international markets,” said Jacques Morisset, Program Leader for Côte d’Ivoire and Lead Author of the report. “The Government also successfully managed its accounts, with a lower-than-expected deficit of 4.2% of GDP, while continuing its ambitious investment policy, partly financed by a judicious debt policy on financial markets.

However, the report notes that private sector activity slowed in 2017 compared with 2016 and especially 2015, which may curb the pace of growth of the Ivorian economy in the coming years. Against the backdrop of fiscal adjustment projected for 2018 and 2019, it is critical that the private sector remain dynamic and become the main driver of growth. This is particularly important in light of the uncertainty associated with the upcoming elections in 2020, which could prompt investors to adopt a wait-and-see approach.

As economic growth in Côte d’Ivoire relies in part on use of its natural resource base, the authors of the report devote a chapter to the impact of climate change on the economy. They raise an alarming point: the stock of natural resources is believed to have diminished by 26% between 1990 and 2014. Several visible phenomena attest to this degradation, such as deforestation, the depletion of water reserves, and coastal erosion. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change could reduce GDP across Africa by 2% to 4% by 2040 and by 10% to 25% by 2100. For Côte d’Ivoire, this would correspond to a loss of some CFAF 380 billion to 770 billion in 2040.

This report sounds an alarm in order to spark a rapid and collective wake-up call,” said Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Côte d’Ivoire. “Combating climate change will require prompt decisions and must become a priority for the country to maintain accelerated and sustainable growth over time.”

The report pays special attention to coastal erosion and to the cocoa sector, which represents one third of the country’s exports and directly affects over 5 million people. With 566 km of coast, Côte d’Ivoire now boasts a coastal population of almost 7.5 million people, who produce close to 80% of the national GDP. Two thirds of this coast is affected by coastal erosion, with severe consequences for the communities and the country’s economy.

The Ivorian Government, which is already aware of this challenge and has prepared a strategy to confront it, must expedite its implementation. This would have the two-fold effect of developing a “green” economy and creating new jobs.

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Economy

A future of work based on sustainable production and employment

Simel Esim

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On the first Saturday of July each year, the international community celebrates the International Day of Cooperatives. This year’s theme, Sustainable consumption and production of goods and services is timely, as the ILO works towards a future of work that is based on sustainable production and employment models.

As head of the ILO’s Cooperative Unit, I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact of cooperatives’ commitment to sustainable consumption and production.

In Northern Sri Lanka, for instance, after years of civil war, I saw how cooperatives helped build the resilience of local communities.

A rapid assessment at the start of the ILO’s Local Empowerment through Economic Development project (LEED) indicated that cooperatives were the only “stable” structures present in Northern Sri Lanka before, during, and after the conflict. Since 2010, the project has been supporting agriculture and fishery cooperatives by securing fair trade certification for their products and helping them establish market links.

I’ve also listened to inspiring stories from other parts of the world of how cooperatives have joined forces to contribute to sustainable consumption, production and decent work – often through cooperative-to-cooperative trade.

Some of these stories were shared at a recent meeting in Geneva of cooperative and ethical trade movements.

We heard how Kenyan producer cooperatives’ coffee has found its way on the shelves of Coop Denmark and how biological pineapples from a Togolese youth cooperative are being sold in retail cooperatives across Italy. We heard how consumer cooperatives in East Asia have developed organic and ecolabel products, while educating their members about the working conditions of producers and workers, as well as on reducing food waste and plastic consumption. We also shared ILO experiences in supporting constituents in the field.

The emerging consensus from the meeting was that cooperative-to-cooperative trade can help lower the costs of trade, while ensuring fairer prices and better incomes for cooperative members and their communities. Opportunities exist not only in agricultural supply chains, but also in ready-made garments and other sectors.

Cooperatives at both ends of the supply chain have been joining forces to shorten value chains, improve product traceability and adopt environmentally-friendly practices. At the ILO we have been working with our constituents to improve the social and environmental footprint of cooperatives around the world.

As the ILO continues to promote a future of work that is based on sustainable production and employment models, a priority for us in the coming years is to facilitate the development of linkages between ILO constituents and cooperatives. The aim is to encourage joint action towards responsible production and consumption practices, the advancement of green and circular economies and the promotion of decent work across supply chains.

Source: ILO

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Economy

Mongolia’s Growth Prospects Remain Positive but More Efficient Public Investment Needed

MD Staff

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Mongolia’s economic performance has improved dramatically with GDP growth increasing from 1.2 percent in 2016 to 5.1 percent in 2017 and 6.1 percent in the first quarter of 2018. While short- and medium-term economic prospects remain positive, Mongolia faces core structural vulnerabilities that hinder its potential, according to Mongolia Economic Update, the latest World Bank report on Mongolia’s economy launched here today. The report also highlights the importance of improving efficiency of its public investment programs given extensive consequences from the overambitious and unrealistic investment programs implemented in the past.

“Last year was a good year for Mongolia with favorable commodities prices and the successful implementation of the government’s economic recovery program,” said Dr. Jean-Pascal N. Nganou, World Bank Senior Economist for Mongolia and Team Leader of the report. “This resulted in improved fiscal and external balances, triggering a slight decline of the country’s public debt.

The recovery is expected to accelerate with a GDP growth rate averaging more than 6 percent between 2019 and 2020, driven by large foreign direct investments in mining. Other than agriculture, which was severely affected by harsh weather conditions during the winter, most major sectors including manufacturing, trade, and transport are expected to expand significantly. On the back of increasing exports and higher commodity prices, economic growth will continue to have a strong positive impact on government revenue, contributing to the reduction of the fiscal deficit.

The unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent in the last quarter of 2017, compared to 8.6 percent a year earlier. Still, it increased to 9.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, reflecting Mongolia’s highly seasonal employment patterns due to difficult working conditions in the winter, especially in construction, agriculture, and mining.

The report highlights possible short- and medium-term risks including political risks, regional instability, climate shocks, and natural disasters. The most critical risk identified is a sudden relaxation of the government’s commitment to full implementation of its economic adjustment program supported by development partners.

In addition, the economy remains vulnerable to fluctuations in global commodity prices and a productivity gap. The best long-term protection against these two vulnerabilities is the diversification of the Mongolian economy.

To create a strong buffer against economic vulnerabilities, the government and donors should give a high priority to economic diversification that helps counter the ups and downs of the mining sector. Investing in human capital and strengthening the country’s institutions are the best way to support diversification, together with sound investments in crucial infrastructure,” said James Anderson, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia.

The report takes a closer look at public investment programs implemented over the past five years, which surged until 2015, contributing to large increases in public finance deficits and the public debt. Mongolia needs to review and reshape its public investment policies and decision-making processes to improve efficiency of public spending, including clear project selection and prioritization criteria, as well as proper maintenance of existing assets.

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