Immigration, Globalization, and Unemployment Benefits in Developed EU States


  • Christine S. Lipsmeyer is Assistant Professor ( Ling Zhu is PhD Candidate ( Both can be reached at Department of Political Science, TAMUS 4348, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843.

  • We presented previous versions of this article at the 2009 annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association and the 2010 Maastricht Conference of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. We particularly thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments; any remaining errors are ours alone. Replication data for our model can be found at


At a time of mounting concern about how traditional welfare states will react to globalization, there has been increasing interest in specifying how global economic forces affect welfare policies in industrialized states. Building on theories from the political economy and comparative institutional literatures, we analyze the influence of an important aspect of globalization—the flow of immigration. Focusing on states in the European Union, we present a theoretical model that illustrates the interactive relationships between immigration, EU labor market integration, and domestic institutions. Our findings highlight how immigration in conjunction with domestic political institutions affects unemployment provisions, while labor market integrative forces remain in the background. The story of immigration and unemployment compensation in the EU is less about the opening of borders and the market forces of integration and more about the domestic political pressures.