Author of ASI briefing paper “The Ties that Bind” writes for Conservative Home

Author of new ASI briefing paper “The Ties that Bind: Analysing the relationship between social cohesion, diversity and immigration” writes for Conservative Home:

Claims that immigrants are undermining the social fabric of the UK are largely unfounded. A new briefing paper from the Adam Smith Institute released today suggests that restricting net migration is likely to be counter-productive at improving social cohesion.

Opinion polling regularly shows that immigration is one of the most important issues for the electorate. The social impact of immigration is frequently cited as a reason to contain migration flows.

Read the full op-ed here.

The paper, “The Ties that Bind: An analysis of the relationship between social cohesion, diversity, and immigration”, is a comprehensive review of the academic literature on the relationship between immigration and social cohesion in the Europe, the UK and the United States.

It concludes that higher levels of diversity only lead to a slight negative impact on generalized trust within UK communities; however, there is virtually no evidence to suggest that diversity undermines other measures of social cohesion, including civic participation, trust in authority and volunteer work in the UK. Furthermore, the paper finds that if other factors are controlled for – including neighborhood status and economic deprivation – the negative relationship between diversity and cohesion often disappears.

ASI briefing paper “The Ties that Bind” features in CityAM

New ASI briefing paper “The Ties that Bind: An analysis of the relationship between social cohesion, diversity, and immigrationfeatures in City AM:

IMMIGRATION is a boon for the economy and higher levels of ethnic diversity can actually improve social cohesion, the Adam Smith Institute will argue today.

In a new report published today, the free-market think tank has sought to tackle head-on the contentious issue of immigration and its effects on Britain’s social fabric. Looking at London-focused research, the institute found that where economic deprivation is controlled for, higher levels of ethnic diversity actually have a positive effect on measures of social cohesion.

Read the full article here.

The paper, “The Ties that Bind: An analysis of the relationship between social cohesion, diversity, and immigration”, is a comprehensive review of the academic literature on the relationship between immigration and social cohesion in the Europe, the UK and the United States.

It concludes that higher levels of diversity only lead to a slight negative impact on generalized trust within UK communities; however, there is virtually no evidence to suggest that diversity undermines other measures of social cohesion, including civic participation, trust in authority and volunteer work in the UK. Furthermore, the paper finds that if other factors are controlled for – including neighborhood status and economic deprivation – the negative relationship between diversity and cohesion often disappears.

Press Release: Immigration does not significantly hurt social cohesion in Britain, new paper finds

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Kate Andrews, Head of Communications, at kate@adamsmith.org | 07584 778207.

  • There is no conclusive evidence that diversity within UK communities creates a negative impact on social cohesion.
  • The majority of the research shows a small negative association between diversity and generalized trust within a community; but controlling for other factors, including neighborhood status, can eliminate the negative association altogether.
  • Frequently when non-trust measures are used as an indicator for social cohesion no negative relationship between diversity and cohesion is found in the UK; diversity does not appear to affect civic participation, trust in authority, or voluntary work.
  • London-centred research shows that higher levels of ethnic diversity actually have a positive effect on social cohesion.
  • The research undermines claims by some politicians that immigration places burdens on Britain’s social fabric.

Ethnic, cultural and racial diversity, which immigration to the UK typically drives, have very little negative impact on social cohesion, a new briefing paper from the Adam Smith Institute has concluded.

The paper, “The Ties that Bind: An analysis of the relationship between social cohesion, diversity, and immigration”, is a comprehensive review of the academic literature on the relationship between immigration and social cohesion in the Europe, the UK and the United States.

It concludes that higher levels of diversity only lead to a slight negative impact on generalized trust within UK communities; however, there is virtually no evidence to suggest that diversity undermines other measures of social cohesion, including civic participation, trust in authority and volunteer work in the UK.

Furthermore, the paper finds that if other factors are controlled for – including neighborhood status and economic deprivation – the negative relationship between diversity and cohesion often disappears.

While research from the U.S finds a clear negative relationship between immigration and social cohesion, research conducted on the national level throughout Europe finds no negative impacts of immigration on social cohesion; but neither sets of findings can be applied uncritically to the UK due to the specific, historical contexts of migration that occurred in each region.

Research that looks exclusively at London is also highlighted in the paper, which finds that once economic deprivation is controlled for, higher levels of ethnic diversity actually have a positive effect on measures of social cohesion. While London’s relationship with immigration is not directly comparable to the rest of the UK, the majority of migrants that come to the UK settle in London, making it an important finding.

The research contradicts the claim by some politicians that immigration, while economically beneficial to the UK, must be restricted because it undermines the country’s social fabric.

Author of the report, James Dobson said:

Immigration continues to be one of the most important and controversial issues in British politics. Whilst the economic debate surrounding migration is well-rehearsed, the social impact of migration has frequently been neglected.

Politicians have often claimed that migration damages community cohesion, but the evidence for this claim is far from clear. Studies in Europe and the UK have frequently failed to find a correlation between high levels of diversity and low levels of social cohesion. Indeed some studies have even observed that highly diverse communities can be more cohesive than more homogeneous areas.

Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute Ben Southwood added:

The published economic research is clear that immigrants don’t take away jobs—in fact they raise wages for natives; they help bear the UK’s debt burden by taking out less in benefits than they pay in; and they increase productivity.

But do they undermine the social cohesion and trust that underlies the success of developed countries?

It’s commonplace to say they do, with figures like Nigel Farage suggesting diversity might be one reason for the decline of children playing in the street. But the evidence is inconclusive. Our new paper finds little evidence at all of diversity and migration undermining the bonds that undergird society.

Lawmakers should be aware of the research before they rush to crack down on migration.

Notes to editors:

Read “The Ties that Bind: An analysis of the relationship between social cohesion, diversity, and immigration” here.

The Adam Smith Institute is an free market, libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.

ASI comments on Miliband’s proposal to limit zero-hours contracts feature in The Telegraph

Dr Eamonn Butler’s comments on Ed Miliband’s proposal to crackdown on zero-hour contracts featured in The Telegraph:

The Adam Smith Institute, said Labour’s plan would “harm the very people it is intended to help”.

“The UK’s economic success is founded on labour market flexibility, and politicians need to be very careful before messing with it,” Dr Eamonn Butler, director, said.

“About two thirds of people on zero-hours contracts are happy with the hours they get—limiting the contracts they can sign hamstrings not just the firms that employ them but their own employment options.

“On top of this, we’d expect this labour market straitjacket to cut, rather than boost, productivity. The UK’s productivity troubles are real, but they’re also so hard to diagnose that the issue is known as the ‘productivity puzzle’.

“The UK’s labour market flexibility is the key reason we have been able to weather such a sharp recession and slow recovery while nevertheless hitting the highest ever employment level and rate. Chipping away at this is dangerous and counterproductive.”

Read the full article here.

Press Release: Miliband’s zero-hours contact ban threatens UK labour market

For Immediate Release | For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Charlotte Bowyer at charlotte@adamsmith.org / 07584 778 207

Commenting on Ed Miliband’s banning of zero-hours contracts, Director of the Adam Smith Institute, Dr Eamonn Butler, said:

Forcing firms to give employees a regular contract after 12 weeks is effectively abolishing zero hours contracts for 90% of the 1.8m on them, and it would harm the very people it is intended to help.

The UK’s economic success is founded on labour market flexibility, and politicians need to be very careful before messing with it.

About two thirds of people on zero-hours contracts are happy with the hours they get—limiting the contracts they can sign hamstrings not just the firms that employ them but their own employment options.

On top of this, we’d expect this labour market straitjacket to cut, rather than boost, productivity. The UK’s productivity troubles are real, but they’re also so hard to diagnose that the issue is known as the ‘productivity puzzle’.

The UK’s labour market flexibility is the key reason we have been able to weather such a sharp recession and slow recovery while nevertheless hitting the highest ever employment level and rate. Chipping away at this is dangerous and counterproductive.”

For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact Charlotte Bowyer at charlotte@adamsmith.org / 07584 778 207

The Adam Smith Institute is an independent libertarian think tank based in London. It advocates classically liberal public policies to create a richer, freer world.