Immigrants are Good

From Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism, Refugees and the Economy: Lessons from History.

Current refugee situations as well as more thoroughly studied historical migrations are detailed.  Summary:

Sheltering approximately 2 million Syrians, 25% of Lebanon’s population is now comprised of refugees. Adding insult to injury, the Syrian conflict has also resulted in a sharp decline in tourism, a leading Lebanese industry. Yet in the face of all this turmoil, the World Bank estimates that Lebanon will grow by 2.5% in 2016, the country’s highest growth rates since 2010.

Jordan, the host of almost a million Syrian refugees, is also on the path to growth.
According to the IMF, the Jordanian economy is also estimated to grow by 2.6%. The same is true for Turkey, the host of more than 2 million Syrian refugees. The Deputy Director at the Turkish Central Bank has reported that wages and employment are rising as more refugees enter the country.

Even the European Commission has predicted that the Syrian refugees will bring a net gain equal to a quarter of one percent to the European economy in 2016, as a consequence of government spending (Germany predicts to spend around $20 billion dollars in 2016 on refugees). A quarter of a one percent net economic benefit might not sound like a lot; but at least the Syrian refugees are boosting growth in Europe rather than hindering it as commonly believed. It is a potential indicator that Europe might benefit from accepting even more refugees.


The author is fully aware that objections to accepting more Syrian refugees include national security interests and integration concerns. The purpose of this blog is not to minimize those concerns, but rather to simply isolate and clarify some of the misconceptions about the impact of accepting refugees on economic growth.

This is also true for other types of immigrants, both here and elsewhere.


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