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[updated to reflect David's response, below]
I have been writing quite a lot about immigration recently - here and here. But there’s an unfortunate tendency for dialogues on this topic (oral or in response to my columns) to go something like this: I, or other economists who work in this area, say that the empirical evidence suggests that immigration has little or no impact on employment or unemp
I am early in the office today - 7.30 am - and the cleaners are just finishing up. Not surprisingly, they clearly were not born in the UK (Brazil? Romania?), and I think it is reasonable to assume (we use a reputable firm) that they are paying tax and not claiming benefits.
At the end of last year, the FT asked me and many other UK economists to answer a set of questions about likely economic developments over the coming year. They summarised the results here, but for obvious reasons didn't go into much detail (perhaps not surprisingly, the only direct quote from me was my joke in the first line of my response to question 1 - an old joke but a good one..).
Since the financial crisis, economists as a profession have come in for considerable criticism, both for failing to predict the crisis and for disagreeing violently with each other about what to do about it. As far as macroeconomics and finance go, it is difficult to dispute that there is a strong case to answer.
The impact of immigration on British workers is a matter of heated political debate. But anybody seeking light from the economics profession on this topic could be excused if they were somewhat confused by the research published over the last few days. On Monday, Migration Watch published a report highlighting the "remarkable coincidence between the rise in youth unemployment and the surge in immigration from Eastern Europe over the last eight years." Yesterday, new