Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Incentives Matter, Yea Even For Refugees And Asylum Seekers

This is not a point about refugees. Nor is it one about asylum seekers, economic immigrants. It is instead one about that base point that economics tries to dun into all too many unlistening heads – incentives matter:

So far this year, more than 18,000 migrants and refugees have landed in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean from Libya and Tunisia.That compares to 5,700 in the same period last year and just 2,100 in the corresponding period in 2019.

Well, that’s quite a lot actually. Places like Lampedusa – only 50 miles off the African coast – are seeing 1,000 such refugees a week as against what is the regular local winter population – 400?

In contrast:

In contrast to Italy, Greece has seen a dramatic decline in the number of asylum seekers trying to enter its territory by land and sea from Turkey.

That’s a much shorter and much less dangerous trip. So, why the fall in numbers?

Those who do reach Greece’s islands in the Aegean are detained in squalid camps made up of tents and metal containers, where they often languish for years until their asylum applications are considered.

Greece has toughened its border control – the Greek coast guard has been repeatedly accused of pushing migrant boats back towards the Turkish coast, in violation of international law.

Recently it was reported that the Greek police on the land border were experimenting with the use of controversial sound cannons – acoustic devices which fire bursts of deafening noise over the frontier to harass and deter migrants.

Hmm. So, one recent weekend there were 500 crossing The Channel in small boats. We have proof that incentives do matter.

This then bringing us to that point that wasn’t being made, about asylum seekers, economic immigrants, refugees. We know what can be done. Do we wish to do it?

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jgh
jgh
4 months ago

It alwasys surprises me how bad the information communication is to people trying to get into these countries. As demonstrated above it’s taken *ages* for the information that Greek is a crap destination to get back to the homeland and influence the decisions of the people setting off. Similarly, it’s amazing how the information that the UK is an irridemably racist country where brown people are hounded out of any occupation, and are legally banned from existing, with crap weather to boot, has subbornly failed to be transmitted to the people making decisions before setting off. Maybe we should be… Read more »

Spike
Spike
4 months ago
Reply to  jgh

Numerous trips to the local adjacent Old Country have taught me their residents are good people, devoted to family and church (even when at “work”), but horrible consumers of information. Their decisions won’t be guided by news media nor by the insincere “Don’t come…yet…” of Biden and Harris, but by anecdotes from people they know.

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
4 months ago
Reply to  Spike

Maybe they have wisely learned to disregard bullshit and consume information only from trusted sources.

Mohave Greenie
Mohave Greenie
4 months ago
Reply to  jgh

@jgh “Maybe we should be airdropping copies of the Guardian across Africa and the Middle East.”

That is simply inhumane!

Boganboy
Boganboy
4 months ago

I’d argue that the UK should tow the boats back to France. If the Frogs tow them back again, you can both play shuttlecock. However while playing, you could negotiate with the Italians, Greeks, French, Germans etc to establish patrols in the Mediterranean to tow all the reffos back to Africa and Asia. Any of the do-gooder people smugglers who pick them up and dump them in Europe could accidently-on-purpose be dumped with them. Since the Libyans are reputed to hold some illegal immigrants as slaves, perhaps they could be added to the coffle. Of course the weakness of my… Read more »

Addolff
Addolff
4 months ago

“We know what can be done”.
Yes, WE do. As the Aussies found years ago, make it clear to all involved that anyone arriving into the UK outside the normal channels WILL be denied leave to stay and deported. No exceptions. NONE.
“Do we wish to do it”?
WE do, TPTB don’t.

Charles
Charles
4 months ago
Reply to  Addolff

Speak for youself! Given the difficulties and dangers experienced by illegal immigrants, they’re demontrating the resourcefulness and determination which shows they are the sort of people we should be rolling out the red carpet for – not trying to keep them out.

Spike
Spike
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles

Everyone has survival skills, and we hardly have to recruit abroad to get them, especially as the skill set involves willingness and adeptitude to break our laws. You people trot out any rhetoric to make excuses for them (they are “Dreamers” while their victims are not), but you have as little real concern for them as for the “plight of minorities.” Your real goal is more jobs for welfare disbursors and their associated union hacks.

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
4 months ago

Don’t tell us, tell your associate Emily Fielder, who firmly believes that incentives do not matter.

Charles
Charles
4 months ago

It seems this article is highly relevant: https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/busting-the-pull-factor-myth

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