Examining the relationship between immigration and unemployment using National Insurance Number registration data

| Publication date: 9 Jan 2012 | Theme: Trade, Investment & Productivity, Employment & Social policy, Exiting the EU | NIESR Discussion Paper Number: 386

Immigration has been central in recent UK policy debates and has attracted significant concern over its possible adverse effect on labour market outcomes. This paper contributes to the evidence on this issue by presenting initial results on the impact of migration inflows on the claimant count rate using previously unused data on National Insurance Number registrations of foreign nationals. Our results, which appear robust to different specifications, different levels of geographic aggregation, and to a number of tests, seem to confirm the lack of any impact of migration on unemployment in aggregate. We find no association between migrant inflows and claimant unemployment. In addition, we test for whether the impact of migration on claimant unemployment varies according to the state of the economic cycle. We find no evidence of a more adverse during periods of low growth or the recent recession.

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