Pay-as-they-get-in: attitudes towards migrants and pension systems

Tito Boeri, Matteo Gamalerio, Massimo Morelli, Margherita Negri*

*Corresponding author for this work

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We study whether a better knowledge of the functioning of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) pension systems and recent demographic trends affects natives’ attitudes toward immigration. In two online experiments conducted in Italy and Spain, we randomly treated participants with a video explaining how, in PAYG systems, the payment of current pensions depends on the contributions paid by current workers. The video also informs participants about population aging trends in their countries. The treatment increases knowledge of PAYG systems and future demographic trends for all participants. However, it improves attitudes toward migrants only for treated participants who do not support populist and anti-immigrant parties.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberlbad036
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
VolumeAdvance articles
Early online date5 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jan 2024


  • Information provision
  • Experiment
  • Immigration
  • Pay-as-you-go pension systems
  • Population aging
  • Populism


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