Illegal immigration booms and welfare in the host country

Expansion de l’immigration illégale et bien-être social dans le pays d’accueil
  • Javier Ferri
  • Antonio G. Gómez-Plana
  • Joan A. Martín-Montaner
Original Paper


Illegal immigration Income distribution Applied general Equilibrium Spain 


We assess the effects of an important influx of illegal immigration on production and welfare, applied to the Spanish economy during the nineties, through a calibrated general equilibrium model. Immigrants are perfect substitutes of unskilled native workers, according to their productivity, but they are unevenly rewarded. In a first simulation we analyse the effects of an exogenous increase of illegal workers equal to the estimates for the period. In another simulation an equivalent expansion in unskilled legal immigrants is then considered. Finally, a comparison of both simulations provides the scenario of illegal immigrants being legalised. The outcome suggests that the amount of remittances and the role of labour market mechanisms (e.g. trade unions) play an important role in overall results.


Nous explorons les effets de flux importants d’immigration clandestine sur la production et le bien-être social, sur la base d’une application à l’économie espagnole des années quatre-vingt dix, fondée sur un modèle calibré d’équilibre général. Du point de vue de la productivité, les immigrés sont les substituts parfaits des travailleurs non qualifiés autochtones, mais ils ne sont pas rémunérés de la même façon. Dans une première simulation, nous analysons les effets d’une augmentation exogène des travailleurs clandestins, basée sur les estimations pour la période. Dans une seconde simulation, une augmentation comparable des travailleurs légaux non qualifiés est considérée. Enfin, une comparaison des deux simulations fournit le scénario de la régularisation des immigrés clandestins. Les résultats suggèrent que le montant des transferts financiers et le rôle des mécanismes du marché du travail (notamment celui des syndicats) joue un rôle important dans le processus.


immigration clandestine distribution des revenus application de l’équilibre général Espagne 



This paper has benefited from the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Education and other institutions. Javier Ferri acknowledges CICYT grant SEJ2005-01365, Fundación Rafael del Pino and EFRD; Antonio G. Gómez-Plana recognizes MCYT grant SEJ2005-03470; and Joan A. Martín-Montaner is grateful for CICYT grant SEJ2005-08764, Bancaixa grant P1 1B2004-28, Generalitat Valenciana grant GV06/324 and EFRD. We appreciate the comments by discussants and participants in the Annual Conference of the European Society for Population Economics, the Annual Conference of the European Trade Study Group, the Simposio de Análisis Económico, and the Encuentro de Economía Aplicada, where previous versions of this article have been presented.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Ferri
    • 1
  • Antonio G. Gómez-Plana
    • 2
  • Joan A. Martín-Montaner
    • 3
  1. 1.Universidad de ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Universidad Pública de NavarraPamplonaSpain
  3. 3.Universitat Jaume I de CastellóCastellóSpain

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