Determination of the Net Transfers for Immigrants in Germany

Research report

September 2007


Externally reviewed

Study Paper No. 16


Written by: Christer Gerdes


There exists considerable interest in the study of what individuals contribute to or cost the public purse. Such information can, for example, shed light on the effects of various factors on public finances. Studies of this type are also of interest in the context of the analysis of differences between the various forms of welfare state, and the consequences of such differences.


This working paper provides an in-depth, detailed analysis of the total amount of public costs and income transfers on the one hand, and of payments of taxation and fees to the public purse on the other, for immigrants in Germany. The study is based on an interview survey carried out by the ROCKWOOL Foundation Research Unit during the period April-August 2002.  Interviews were conducted with a total of 5,669 people of Turkish, Polish, Iranian and Lebanese citizenship. Immigrants from the former Yugoslavia were also included in the study.


The study indicated a picture of fairly widespread income transfers to immigrants, and also showed that these transfers were predominantly linked to the fact that many of the immigrants were unemployed. These findings highlight the importance of integrating immigrants into the labour market. The survey also underlines the importance of having good data in order both to improve the analysis of the effects of immigration on society and to provide a better basis for decision-making in the context of integration policy.