Do immigrants contribute to public finances?
Do welfare states attract and benefit immigrant groups?
Is immigration necessary to bear the costs of an ageing population?
What is the role of education and cultural factors in all this?
And what about the second generation?
A multidisciplinary team of four experienced researchers investigated this topic in the Netherlands. They had access to unique anonymised microdata from Statistics Netherlands on all inhabitants of the country. In estimating the fiscal impact of immigration, the net lifetime contribution of immigrants to public coffers was estimated by employing the method of generational accounting.
The result is this book, with the eloquent title Borderless Welfare State. It answers the questions, contains a wealth of previously unpublished information, and draws conclusions with strong policy relevance. The findings may inspire researchers and policymakers in other countries, particularly in Europe, with a comparable welfare state.
An earlier version of this book sparked debate in the Netherlands. The Dutch government stated that they did not need this type of information. One could only guess the underlying reason for this position. Is it the inconvenient message from Borderless Welfare State that, if immigration continues by the current numbers and composition, welfare states like the Dutch one become unsustainable?