CEPII, Recherche et Expertise sur l'economie mondiale
The fiscal Impact of 30 Years of Immigration in France: (I) an Accounting Approach


Xavier Chojnicki
Lionel Ragot
Ndeye-Penda Sokhna

 Highlights :
  • We develop an accounting method which disaggregates the primary budget deficit between the contribution of immigrant and native populations. This net contribution is the difference between the taxes that they pay to the public finances and the benefits they receive from them.
  • One of the main contributions of this paper is to calculate this net contribution over a long period (1979-2011).
  • We show that the net contribution of immigrants is overall negative for the whole period, but the French primary deficit cannot be attributed to the immigrant population. Their contribution remains relatively low, restrained below ±0.5% of GDP (reduced to ±0.2% without 2011).
  • This relative neutrality of the impact of immigrant population on public finances is explained by their more favorable demographic structure, which offsets their lower individual net contribution.

 Abstract :
This article aims to evaluate the net contribution of immigration to the public finances of France between the late 1970s and the early 2010s. We developed an accounting method that disaggregates the primary deficit into the specific contributions of immigrant population and native population. We show that the net contribution of immigrants is generally negative over a relatively long period, but remains at an extremely low level (±0.5% of the french GDP, reduced to ±0.2%, with the exception of 2011). The relatively negligible effect of immigrants on the public accounts is explained by a favourable demographic structure offsetting their lower net individual contribution. However, the 2008 financial crisis has significantly degraded the economic condition of immigrants. The net per capita contribution of EU immigrants has significantly declined since 2000 and is now similar to values from third country immigrants.

 Keywords : International Migration | Public Finances | Social Protection

 JEL : E62, F22, H62


Related articles and documents :

  • "The fiscal impact of 30 years of immigration in France: an accounting approach", National Tax Journal

  • CEPII Working Paper
    N°2018-04, avril 2018

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