Labor Market Rigidity and the Disaffection of European Muslim Youth

In Belgium high unemployment and crime-ridden Muslim ghettos have fomented radicalism but as Jeff Jacoby writes:

Muslims in the United States…have had no problem acclimating to mainstream norms. In a detailed 2011 survey, the Pew Research Center found that Muslim Americans are “highly assimilated into American society and . . . largely content with their lives.” More than 80 percent of US Muslims expressed satisfaction with life in America, and 63 percent said they felt no conflict “between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.” The rates at which they participate in various everyday American activities — from following local sports teams to watching entertainment TV — are similar to those of the American public generally. Half of all Muslim immigrants display the US flag at home, in the office, or on their car.

Jacoby, however, doesn’t explain why these differences exist. One reason is the greater flexibility of American labor markets compared to those in Europe.

Institutions that make it more difficult to hire and fire workers or adjust wages can increase unemployment and reduce employment, especially among immigrant youth. Firms will be less willing to hire if it is very costly to fire. As Tyler and I put it in Modern Principles, How many people will want to go on a date if every date requires a marriage? The hiring hurdle is especially burdensome for immigrants given the additional real or perceived uncertainty from hiring immigrants. One of the few ways that immigrants can compete in these situations is by offering to work for lower wages. But if that route is blocked by minimum wages or requirements that every worker receive significant non-wage benefits then unemployment and non-employment among immigrants will be high generating disaffection, especially among the young.

Huber, for example, (see also Angrist and Kuglerfinds:

Countries with more centralized wage bargaining, stricter product market regulation and countries with a higher union density, have worse labour market outcomes for their immigrants relative to natives even after controlling for compositional effects.

The problem of labor market rigidity is especially acute in Belgium where the differences between native and immigrant unemployment, employment and wages are among the highest in the OECD. Language difficulties and skills are one reason but labor market rigidity is another, as this OECD report makes clear:

Belgian labour market settings are generally unfavourable to the employment outcomes of low-skilled workers. Reduced employment rates stem from high labour costs, which deter demand for low-productivity workers…Furthermore, labour market segmentation and rigidity weigh on the wages and progression prospects of outsiders. With immigrants over-represented among low-wage, vulnerable workers, labour market settings likely hurt the foreign-born disproportionately.

…Minimum wages can create a barrier to employment of low-skilled immigrants, especially for youth. As a proportion of the median wage, the Belgian statutory minimum wage is on the high side in international comparison and sectoral agreements generally provide for even higher minima. This helps to prevent in-work poverty…but risks pricing low-skilled workers out of the labour market (Neumark and Wascher, 2006). Groups with further real or perceived productivity handicaps, such as youth or immigrants, will be among the most affected.

In 2012, the overall unemployment rate in Belgium was 7.6% (15-64 age group), rising to 19.8% for those in the labour force aged under 25, and, among these, reaching 29.3% and 27.9% for immigrants and their native-born offspring, respectively.

Immigration can benefit both immigrants and natives but achieving those benefits requires the appropriate institutions especially open and flexible labor markets.


In addition to labor market decentralization, the US has hundreds of years of experience (good and bad, peaceful and violent) of assimilating immigrants. E Pluribus Unum.

This is true, but I wonder if the primary division of black vs. white doesn't tend to push all newcomers into one of those groups. My half-baked theory is that this big a society really only has energy for one major social division, and slavery pretty much decided which one we were going to have. Sure, we dabble with Irish on german on chinese discrimination, but at the end of the day, it's black and white that matter. I think this redounds to the benefit of immigrants, mostly.

Of course, what Tabarrok is ignoring about Europe is that Europe opened its borders to Muslim immigration decades ago because Europe was experiencing a labor shortage. Now, the chickens have come home to roost. Yet, Tabarrok is promoting the same immigration policies for the U.S. ("open and flexible labor markets") that led to devastating consequences in Europe (for both Europe and the immigrants) while blaming the problems with immigrants in Europe on too much government and too many unions.

It seems all you've done is summarized his opinion while ignoring the evidence he uses to support it. Sometimes (whether we like to hear it or not) government and unions do hold the blame. If you think otherwise you should offer evidence to the contrary.

because Europe was experiencing a labor shortage

That's the retrospective excuse. The British isles, Scandinavia, and the western Continent encompass 15 countries with populations over 4 million. In 1960, total fertility rates among them ranged from 2.17 to 3.78 births per woman per lifetime. It was not until 1969 that any country fell below replacement level and not until 1975 that the problem affected states constituting a majority of the population of the whole set. Even if the fertility declines had been autonomous and not affected by welfare policy, immigration policy, and housing policy, the matter could have been addressed by issuing visas only to those proficient in local languages, promoting language proficiency only in those countries less likely to produce troublesome chain migration, and putting screens up regarding common provision for immigrants.

Germany lost 5+ million young working age men in the 1940s, France was still suffering from WWI, the UK was losing population to its colonies throughout post war period because of quality of life issues especially the continuation of rationing.

This was what drove immigration, and it takes 20 years for a woman giving birth to make up for the loss of a worker. So the fertility statistics do not fix the labor shortages of the 1950s and early 1960s

France's population had returned to pre WWI levels by 1923. It had returned to pre WWII levels by 1951. The population of west Germany was in continuous increase from 1948 onward. You'd have only seen declining entry cohorts from 1957 to 1965.

The leftist oligarchs running everything in the Eurozone didn't/don't incentivize immigrants to assimilate or facilitate their obtaining meaningful employment. Ergo, Brussels last week; and Paris twice in 2015.

The oligarchs exhibit a special brand of lunacy when they bring in millions of new welfare recipients who hate their people and their way of life. The people may come to realize it and be branded fascists/racists.

Yes, the oligarchs are intentionally recruiting welfare bums, because as oligarchs, naturally they want to pay higher taxes for welfare bums. Probably they're closet Muslims secretly waiting to implement Sharia law or something. Yep, sounds likely. Time to collect our guns! /sarcasm

Do elites pay higher taxes to support them? Elite tax rates don't really seem to change, that is what tax lawyers and lobbyists are for. The middle classes pay more, they can't afford a tax lawyer or lobbyist.

Elites benefit from immigrants in many ways.
1) The ones that do work drive down wages, which means higher profits for elites.
2) Diverse societies have less trust amongst the lowers, and its easier to divide and conquer them.
3) Minority voters can be relied on to vote for specific parties, and everyone wants to gain political power for their own purposes. Elites tend to be leftists, so they are just importing voters to increase their own power.
4) Welfare programs buy goods in the private market and have public administrators. The excess from these programs are often captured by elites.
5) Elites don't like the burden of trying to create middle class societies, which would require sacrifices on their part. Neglect and derision of the native middle class can be justified by a largely theoretical altruism for "the other."

Disaffection of European Muslims is too stark to ignore, but the thing is: Muslims are not the only group of immigrants facing this problem (Sub-Saharan Africans, Eastern Europeans, East Asians, etc.).

Europe cannot hide its inability (or will) to reasonably integrate its immigrant population, a big part of them from former European colonies, but we cannot either hide there's one particular group adhering to violent acts to make their voices heard: Muslims.

Clearly we have the combination of, at least, two factors leading to terrorism in European sole and to the remarkable number of European youth joining terrorist organizations in Syria and other parts of Middle-East and North Africa. IMHO, the two factors are: (i) poorly integrated communities and (ii) militant Islamism originated from Egypt and Middle East and its presence in European Muslim communities particularly in UK, France and Belgium.

We must keep our kids away from violent messages and preachers using religious books without contextualization to promote a violent way to impose certain beliefs on "non-believers". Despite the problems mentioned above in European societies, they're mature enough to fix it through existing institutions or by improving those institutions using the democratic process.

If Europe imported immigrants because of a labor shortage, many EU countries certainly have done a bad job at actually getting them into the labor force.

The OECD report linked showed that in Belgium, employment rate of immigrants is 12% below that of natives. It is worse in The Netherlands and Sweden at -15%. Germany is -6%, UK is -4%. And in the US, the employment rate of immigrants is 2% higher than that of natives.

Dude. "Foment" not "ferment". Unless you think the Islamic radicalism has put Brussels Sprouts in a pickle.

Whoever used "ferment" changed it--must have been AlexT. That put him in a pickle.

As for AlexT's thesis, it must mean that wages are more "sticky" in the EU than the USA, since union membership there is higher. Any studies aside from anecdotal evidence supports this?

Look for a Krugman piece from 1994. It's not specifically about this, but close.

Oh, here it is:

Spelling errors aside, Alex's post is a good distillation of the problem.

A problem that's been brewing for years, I should add. Luckily, in the US, Muslim integration is the yeast of our troubles.

Okay, I'll stop now.

Highly recommended book: The pun also rises :-)

No, it is not. It's very one-sided. The population of muslim immigrants to US is very different from muslims in the EU. I wouldn't be surprised if US mislims have 30% more years of schooling, for example.

"Ferment" is completely acceptable here.

incite or stir up (trouble or disorder).
"the politicians and warlords who are fermenting this chaos"
synonyms: cause, bring about, give rise to, generate, engender, spawn, instigate, provoke, incite, excite, stir up, whip up, foment; More

Those European countries with large Moslem populations will experience horrifically violent conflict in the future. The dynamics of human group conflict are highly malignant.

Heorogar - Immigration to the US during most of it's history consisted mostly of people not a great deal different genetically from the existing population. Europeans are genetically incompatible with Middle Easterners and North Africans. Bloody conflict is inevitable.

Different genetically? You're kidding? Or you dont know what genetics are? Biological variation causes cultural conflict? National peace and prosperity through genetic purity??? If you'd said "culturally different" I could at least begin to disagree with you.

This sort of hereditarian blather has gotten faddish in certain loci. Mr. Sailer is quite deft with it compared to the vast majority of his acolytes.

No. Different people really are different and require different systems in order to thrive. That's why diversity requires shelves of civil rights laws and strong, centralized government to keep people from doing what they'd do naturally, which is subdivide along ethno-cultural lines.

Diversity does not require any civil rights laws or a strong centralized government. There are political pressures toward that end, but that's a discretionary decision. We had waves of large-scale immigration in this country for over a century before there way anything resemblant to latter day 'civil rights law'. Similarly, the 'civil rights law' we have was largely enacted subsequent to a 40 year immigration lull and was in response to social conditions not among immigrant waves, but an extant population among which a pedigree in American of 180 years or so was about average. At the same time, the rapid increase in the relative dimensions of the central government in this country occurred during and immigration lull and was driven not at all by ethnic fragmentation.

Also, see Larry Diamond on the prevalence of electoral systems. In decades of studying the matter, he said he had to conclude that the only true prerequisite for them was 'the inclination of a political class to impose such a system'.

Duh. I'm genetically different from you. "THEREFORE racism is justified", you seem to argue.

Lovely logic.

Racism is the problem, not diversity.

The inevitable endgame for a diverse polity which does not have an acknowledged ruling ethnic majority or strong central government is devolution along ethno-cultural lines. Again, different people are different and require different systems in order to thrive. Universalism is out-of-touch ideology.

What is actually "racist" is imagining that inside everybody is an Occidental social democrat just waiting to get out.

The inevitable endgame for a diverse polity which does not have an acknowledged ruling ethnic majority or strong central government is devolution along ethno-cultural lines.

Rubbish. Very little is 'inevitable' in political life. That aside, you're presuming that the axes of dispute are geographically clustered and you're categorizing small countries as possessed of a 'strong central government' when the dimensions of those countries permit only the central government and municipal government.

"Racism is the problem, not diversity."

Actually, moron, diversity is the problem and if you knew anything at all about social interaction and have read the relevant research, you would know that. Even your fellow liberal scum Putnam has admitted that.

It was said a long time ago that apartheid in South Africa was "socialism for the Afrikaners, capitalism for the Anglos, and fascism for the blacks". That sounds about right. The system benefited everyone in that regard. The poor Afrikaners, the governing majority, enjoyed job protection and a chance to raise their standard of living. The Anglos got a healthy pro-business environment that allowed them to build up the country to 1st world levels. The blacks had their more savage and primitive impulses put in check, and were prevented from dragging the good people of the country down to their level. This in turn was good for them because it insured they wouldn't starve to death like in the rest of Africa.

Culture is an epiphenomenon.

Then why am I not a bloody Viking?

Because all the best men died in the wars. Explains much of what we see today, really.

Made me lol, but I think the transition from bloody Vikings to Nordic Socialists is one of the most impressive .. though I suppose the southern Europeans gave up disembowelling pretty quickly as well.

Viking raiders were not a random sample of Scandanavians but were self-selected for meanness.

Raiding was a business, like Volvo, but with less safety emphasis.

A lot of those raiders settled in conquered and raided territories and made up a signifigant fraction of the looting and killing class, ie the military nobility. And Scandinavia did not exactly fail to remain warlike as the history of Europe for the next half millenia showed.

The Viking raids also came from the centralization of Nordic kingdoms and did not actually represent a more antisocial population but rather one that had been mobilized for war, and was quite good at it.

A comparison would be Japan between 1450 and 1620 which was incredibly warridden and this mobilization was accompanied by great expansions of piracy and raiding by Japanese in China and Korea and the export of mercenaries. This trend continued despite the closure of Japan in the 1620s for another generation into the chaos at the fall of Ming in China, but it would be easy to point to Japan and say no aggression there if not for the fifty years between 1895 and 1945 which shows that Japan maintained an immense capacity for violence.

I strongly suspect that modern Scandinavian culture is not all that different.

I think we are on much the same page Roy. Danegeld wasn't about blood-lust, it was business. That said, I think the shift in mode of business, from shield-wall to Ikea stores is pretty impressive.

Jim: It's not genetic differences, it's bad spelling that's the real problem: ...its history....

Is there really much genetic difference between North Africans and Southern Europeans? I would even argue that the Middle East /North African population is genetically very similar to the larger European population, aside from some salient phenotypic traits (e.g. blue eyes in some Northern European countries).
Probably there are some cultural differences, or behavioral norms that matter. But that is a different story. Genetics is a dead end to explain this problem.

There's an IQ difference, isn't there? Anyway, genes and enduring culture are two sides of the same coin

Yes, this altogether astonishing observation that people who are educated in a low quality post-colonial education system obtain worse average scores on standardized tests. Must be genes ...

You don't think intelligence has any genetic component?

I think you mean 'heritable' component or 'non-environmental' component. Are we talking about the variation amongst individuals or the variation between social subgroups? These do not necessarily have the same sources.

Note that assimilation did not work very well for African-Americans whose ancestors have lived in this land since well before it even became a nation. Despite the long period of time in which African-Americans have been living here the US continues to experience a high level of racial violence including frequent bloody riots involving massive violence and property destruction. The genetic differences between whites and African-Americans is too great for compatibility.

Meanwhile, back in the real world:

1. There have been almost no riots in the United States since 1971 and there were almost none prior to 1964.

2. Except for robbery, crimes of consequence in this country are largely intraracial.

3. Blacks and whites interact satisfactorily in workplaces and in public spaces as a matter of course. Blacks tend to cluster in metropolitan regions, but that's overstated. Where I grew up, a slight majority of blacks live in block groups where they are a minority and about 1/3 of the black population lives in census block groups where they constitute a low single digit minority; only about 13% live in block groups where non-hispanic whites are absent.

4.American blacks' incomes are lower than those of whites, but not enough to put them in another country. Per capita personal income among blacks is about what it was among whites in 1985 and higher than the national means in a number of occidental countries. among them New Zealand, Italy, and Spain. Life expectancies for American blacks are also similar to those of whites ca. 1985.

Blacks are also now happier than whites!

Where is the black Trump? The black Sanders?

White people can be annoying.

Don King is apparently the black Trump.

I don't think there can be a black Sanders in America. People would be terrified. They should be terrified of Sanders, but he's white and curmudgeonly and that softens his image.

Bayard Rustin was the black Sanders. No, he wasn't terrifying.

How close did he get to the presidency?

How close did Michael Harrington get during his lifetime (and Rustin's)?

I don't know Art; not very close.

Today we have 25% of the country voting for a guy who's ideology killed a hundred million people in living memory. I think that's pretty bad.

Sanders isn't a Leninist. He's a tree-hugger.

"Sanders isn’t a Leninist. He’s a tree-hugger."

Sanders wants to increase government spending by 40%. That goes beyond being a tree-hugger.

And this explains that the bloodiest riots in the US were the New York draft riot in the 1860s where the perpetrators were of European descent.

Obviously the New York City riots are an example of bloody group conflict.

Between which groups?

Explaining riots with genetics is a new for me... OMG!

Maybe being on the shit end of the racist stick makes people angry? 'Cause I gotta tell you, if people were saying stuff like that about my club, I might wanna punch them in the face too.

How long into a one-sided bullying and smearing match until you say that the guy had it coming. Now, I think we're doing a pretty good job of trying, but between poverty and a history which includes suffering at the hands of much racist nonsense, I'm unwilling to seriously entertain any sort of "genetic" differences (and seriously, it doesn't seem that you actually know squat about genetics) until we put all that nonsense behind us.

Maybe being on the shit end of the racist stick makes people angry?

Don't be an idiot, Nathan. Endemic cultural phenomena are not why you had a mess of riots in this country in 1919 and again during the period running from 1964 to 1971 but not at any other time.

This argument isn't convincing. Will can fluctuate while individuals undergo repeated and identical slights.

American riots have gotten much less "bloody" over time. Compare the troubles in Baltimore last spring to what happened in the same city. The 2015 "riot" was mainly an out-of-control protest, partly sparked by the city's own own bone-headed actions (shutting down public transport just before the schools let out for the day) that resulted in lots and lots of looting. There were no deaths and relatively few attacks on individuals-- and a significant responsible element (clergy, the 300 Man March group, etc.) in the community turned out to prevent further upheaval so that the entire business degenerated into a large, if at times tense, street party of the second day.

Plenty of biracial couples would dispute your nonsense that black people and white people are not "compatible".

"Europeans are genetically incompatible with Middle Easterners and North Africans. "

What does that even mean? They can interbreed, ergo they are by any meaningful standard, genetically compatible.

About two thousand years ago a group of Middle Eastern people migrated to the West where they have lived ever since. During these two thousand years there was constant conflict at various levels of intensity between these people and other European people. This culminated about 75 years ago in a horrific bloodbath. That's what I mean by incompatible.

"About two thousand years ago a group of Middle Eastern people migrated to the West where they have lived ever since. -"

What specific group are you referring too?

I don't understand what you are attempting to say. Ashkenazi are a rather small population of Jews. Noteworthy for their high IQ and cultural distinctness. They're clearly not responsible for the last 2,000 years of violence in the Middle East. Indeed, according to this, they've only been a recognizable group for the last 1,000 years.

"are a Jewish ethnic division who coalesced as a distinct community of Jews in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the 1st millennium."

Ashkenazi compared to other Europeans are an example of what I mean by incompatibility. I'm not blaming anybody for anything but the history of Ashkenazi in Europe illustrates the malignancy of human group conflict.

Many of the Middle Eastern or North African people migrating into Europe today are probably even less compatible with European populations than Ashkenazi for example Berbers from North Africa.

The result of this incompatibility is violence often horrific.

The Roma vs. Europeans are another example of incompatibility and again this leads to endless conflict and violence. The different peoples of the world are not necessarily well-suited to getting along with each other peaceably.

Gypsies run crummy criminal syndicates (theft rings and cons). They're a public order problem generally, not a source of 'endless conflict and violence'.

Ashkenazi Jewish women descended mostly from Italian converts, new study asserts

better link:

Maybe. But you are talking culture not genes. There is nothing remotely "genetic" about the Jewish religion, nor about Nazi ideology.

People tend to get along unless they're brainwashed into racism as a part of unbringing or at a later date, or unless there are massive differences in interests and people refuse to sit down and talk like adults, instead preferring a shouting match escalating into a shoving match escalating into a ...

Get a grip man. Maybe you got high marks in grade 10 science when you learned about Mendel, but you couldn't possibly believe something like that if you had a clue about human genetics.

People tend to get along unless they’re brainwashed into racism

Conflict isn't derived from brainwashing and anyone who lived in a core city in the United States during the 1970s would laugh in your face.

"Maybe you got high marks in grade 10 science when you learned about Mendel, but you couldn’t possibly believe something like that if you had a clue about human genetics."

Yep, the subhuman nathan cuck showing his ignorance again. Actually, it is you, scum, that is ignorant of genetics on a level reaching the hypocrisy of Gould. Keep living in your pathetic world based on the Lewontin fallacy while advances in gene sequencing completely trash your baseless ideology.

1. European societies tend to have housing markets which are much more an artifact of public policy than is the case in the United States. (In France, about 17% of the population live in public housing. In the U.S., it is under 2%).

2. Common provision here there and the next place in Europe incorporates bad incentives, thus vicious imams living in British housing projects drawing on the dole for years on end.

3. European societies have a concept of belonging which relies more on metaphorical consanguinity and less on a sense of voluntary association. North America and the Antipodes contain within them societies of migrants; the British Isles do not.

4. Britain (among others) has adopted laws and regulations which remove discretion over association from landlords and employers and place it in the hands of lawyers working in front of courts and tribunals. This promotes a contentious cast of mind among immigrant populations.

5. Faculty libertarians in the United States will tend to avoid critiques of the regime and direct their attention to phenomena not present here.

While more flexible labor might make a difference, the US culturally went through the Civil Rights movement and has a holiday for its leader. Accepting multiculturalism is natural for US citizens and neighborhood communities of immigrants has been historically normal.

Anyway if we compared the crime rates of Muslims to poor inner city Americans I suspect we would see very similar crime and unemployment rates so the flexible labor might not be the answer either.

Neither multiculturalism nor employment discrimination law promote intergroup comity. Good manners and fair procedures as a social (not legal) norm can do that, not threatening people with tort suits.

Don't the American and European ideas of multiculturalism differ in a significant way? In America culture is social, government is common. As I understand the European bargain, local government is more cultural, compartmentalized. They are more likely to let the Muslims run precinct 7 or whatever. That seems much more likely to create ghettos.

Multiculturalism is the wrong word here. Our largest minority, African-Americans, speak English and (overall at least) are at least cultural Christians.

One is a small and selected group. The other is a large and less selected group. Low IQ Arab peasants can get to Europe a lot easier then the USA. The ones that come to America tend to be from a higher crust.

This is true of almost all immigration. If the person had to travel far and did it legally, they tend to be high IQ. In some cases that may even be due to a point system. If they just flooded over the nearby border looking for handouts they tend to be low IQ.

It's important to note that immigration is sold as a positive for natives that won't change their way of life. In contrast, Alex is saying the entire labor shape of the labor market in Belgium must be reshaped not based on what natives want but based on what immigrants want.

"One is a small and selected group. The other is a large and less selected group. Low IQ Arab peasants can get to Europe a lot easier then the USA. The ones that come to America tend to be from a higher crust."

As much as I'd like to support a superior USA model argument, I think this is a significant critique. Both factors are probably relevant, I don't have a good understanding as to what the relative ratios are. Is it 60/40, better model/better group. Or is the ratio reversed and it's 40/60? Or some other, drastically different numbers?


I bet Mexican immigrants in Belgium are a relatively impressive bunch.

You overestimate how easy it is for Latin Americans to emigrate to the US -- the crossing (if illegal) is difficult and expensive, learning English is difficult, earning a living here and being apart from family and friends are as well. It's way too much work and trouble for the layabouts. I've spent some time in South America and have met a number of folks who've lived in and returned from the US -- I've found them, in general, to be wealthier and more entrepreneurial than those who never left (and their fluent English is a definite advantage once they've returned home). Upper class families in South America virtually all have some relatives who live (or have lived) in the US (legally or otherwise).

You're reading something in my comment that isn't there. I would not be surprised if the median adult Mexican immigrant in Belgium has a graduate degree.

"learning English is difficult"

That would explain why so many don't learn English.

Most immigrants do master at least a pidgin English if they stay long enough, and their children are almost always bilingual.

I think this is a huge factor. Migration to America is extremely selective. Migration to Europe is the exact opposite.

Americans skim the 0.1% off the top, which is how you end up with Pakistani-American households having higher than average incomes. No shit these people aren't violent, unemployed, etc.

I wouldn't be opposed to a mandatory IQ threshold for political and conflict refugees. We'll call it Form R-105, and every member of A family would have to qualify. (No bringing your dumb, militant husbands, ladies! Unless they're engineers and can demonstrate superior intellect through a timed bomb making challenge).

How human. "We'll help you flee war if you can achieve a high score on a standardized test, and screw the rest of you."

That's what Australia does.

Israel doesn't do that much. Israel has zero interest in importing high human capital foreigners if they aren't more or less Jewish. Israel could import 10 million Chinese with IQs over 130 if they wanted to. But the Jewish State doesn't want to.

Any brilliant observations to share about low IQ American peasants before they became educated?

Oh, they got pretty smart after decent quality public education became widespread.

And no, Alex is not even remotely saying that labour markets have to be reshaped by "what immigrants want". He's making a standard labour market flexibility argument and observing how this would benefit groups who are negatively affected by inflexible labour markets.

No they didn't get smart. NAMs perform poorly generation after generation. There is no catch up.

What % of Muslims in the U.S. are South Asians rather than MENAs? What % of Muslims in the U.S. are MD's?

About 1/3 of US muslims are South Asian.

Maybe another 1/3 are Nation of Islam. Probably smaller as a percentage now because of immigration.

Given how large the Iranian population is you'd expect more. Granted a lot of areJewish, and the rest really fled radical islam as soon as they could, so not a popular choice.

Other than the somalis must immigrant muslims in the US are pretty domesticated. Yes, I know Huma is a saudi secret agent etc but I don't quite understand how marry a guy named Weiner helped that.

"and the rest really fled radical islam as soon as they could "

Or fled intolerant neighbors, ie Kurdish, etc.

This is the key point. There is no cohesive Muslim community in the United States. The U.S. is a huge country, and the Muslim community is small, scattered and diverse. A significant percentage of them are black converts. Another big chunk are high-educated South Asians. Working-class Sunni Arabs, the most problematic Muslim group, are a small minority of a small minority. It's not comparable to France were they are nearly 10% of the population (mostly Algerians and Moroccans) or Belgium were they are 6-7% (mostly Moroccans).

Well said.

Wishful thinking. Support for suicide bombing and Al Queda among American Muslim youth is not much lower at all than among those in many European countries.

Talk is cheap.

But the bloodshed continues to grow exponentially.

It would look that way if you focus on a very short recent time period and pretend that nothing ebbs and flows.

More likely, it was lashing out in a despersate effort to deter Western attacks in the "caliphate". Best not to over-react so as to not provide material for terrorist recruitment propaganda ("the crusaders are coming! gather your guns!" ... let's not trigger that).

But what is "much lower"? I would say in the case of UK & France the difference is quite significant and in Spain too for non-youths.

The interesting question is, based on that survey, what has Germany done so right?

It's a different compositional makeup. Most of the Muslims in Germany were Turkish . At least in 2007.

Agreed, there is a difference. Also I don't get why the numbers don't add up to 100. Germany and the U.S. are about the same in % who say suicide bombing is ever justified, but for some reason Germany is much higher in the % who say suicide bombing is never justified.

Oh I see, many people in the U.S. answer "don't know" or refuse. Those people probably lean towards supporting terrorism as well and don't want to get on watch lists

Sounds likely enough. In Germany there is credible reasons to believe in privacy when responding to surveys. Perhaps so in the USA as well, but a lot easier to not believe it for the fact of various other shenanigans.

Here's a question: were there any Muslim economic immigrants to the north of France or Belgium before WWII the way Henry Ford imported Muslims to Dearborn?

I was vaguely under the impression that French movie star Dany Boon ("Welcome to the Sticks") was from a multigeneration Muslim family in the gritty north of France, but trying to look that up, I can't confirm it.

To Steve: There were always Muslim immigrants to France after the conquest of Algeria around 1830. The number increased greatly during World War One when many were imported as laborers and some as soldiers.

Yes, there are many people with Muslim names in France who are third or fourth generation. How many are actual Muslims is hard to tell.

PS I was reared in France; I keep up with some French media.

Considering that they bled for the empire, it seems pretty reasonable that some were allowed to immigrate. Possibly, that history does not help with current relations, although this doesn't seem to get in the way with integration of Hindus in England.

According to this website, there were 100,000 Algerian immigrants by 1924 but they were "almost exclusively male."

Henry Ford imported Muslims to Dearborn? Huh? I grew up in SE Michigan (in the 90s I attended church in Dearborn). No one ever talked about Ford importing Muslims. In fact Dearborn was a notoriously racist city until the 70s (old Mayor Hubbard is probably spinning in his coffin nowadays).
There was a fair amount of Christian immigration from the Middle East into the US in general and Michigan in particular.

From Wikipedia:
The first Arab immigrants came in the early-to-mid-20th century to work in the automotive industry and were chiefly Lebanese Christians (Maronites). Other immigrants from the Mideast in the early twentieth century included a large Armenian community, who are also Christian. Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs have also immigrated to the area. Since then, Arab immigrants from Yemen, Iraq and Palestine, most of whom are Muslim, have joined them. Lebanese Americans comprise the largest group of ethnic Arabs.[23][24] The Arab Muslim community has built the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in North America,[25] and the Dearborn Mosque. More Iraqi refugees have come, fleeing the continued war in their country since 2003."

"Henry Ford's factories had 555 Syrian employees, including many recently-arrived Muslims, by 1916."

I don't know if that's true, but that's what I had heard.

555 Syrians (only some of whom were Muslims) is a mere drop in the bucket. Christian Arab emigration to the US does date back quite a bit (see: Danny Thomas) as I noted.
And no one has addressed the fact that Dearborn was an avowed lily-white suburb up into the 70s.

What about Christian immigrants to Western Europe - we don't see them blowing up buildings and randomly gunning down people in major European cities?

This post is a good example of the type of thinking in economics that made me disillusioned with the profession.

Europe has a deep history of blowing up buildings and randomly gunning down people.

History of wars in Europe surely explains why Muslim immigrants blow themselves up in Western Europe while Christian immigrants don't - touche!

Read more. I didn't mean wars.

Insults don't make your argument, if your comment can be called that, any better.

In addition to a long history of conversion by the sword and internecine warfare.

Hey ... if we're so tolerant and Muslims so intolerant, then how do you explain that Europe was basically 100% Christianized while religious minorities were prevalent, and tolerated, in virtually all Muslim majority lands well into the 20th century?

Surely you are capable of distinguishing between historical and modern day attitudes and behaviors. Where would you rather be a religious minority today, the Saudi Arabia or France? Come on man, you can not be this deliberately dense.

He is.

Islam also abducted Christian children to be slave soldiers, and slavey didn't get abolished in place like Saudi Arabia till 1964 when it was forced on them by the USA.

I'm not going to take a strong stance on Islam as a religion, though intuitively there is a difference between the religion of Jesus and the religion of the warlord Mohammed. I think the terrorist are probably interpreting the Koran correctely. "Moderate Muslims" are just people who aren't Muslim but don't want to give up the identity.

All that said, I don't think the religion matters to much. Whites act like they do because of their genes. Arabs act the way they do because of their genes. If Arabs had white IQs they would ignore the incompatible parts of Islam the same way whites do with Christianity. Many of the terrorist acts committed today aren't by fervent Muslims, but disaffected low IQ youth that would be a problem no matter what their religion. Muslims that are high IQ act like high IQ people. That is one reason why non-Arab Muslims are clearly different then Arab Muslims. When we say Islam we are just using that as a proxy for race.

Probably the main difference in religions that did matter is that for centuries Muslims were marrying their cousins, which is part of why they are low IQ and low trust today. By contrast, the marriage laws of Christian Europe were key for making us who we are today.

The important thing is that labor becomes a commodity.

Better a commodity that a birth right.

"I'm sorry, the nice Union jobs are filled with the children and relatives of other Union members. Back to the ghetto for you."

Yeah, who needs birth rights?

There are arguments both ways and I most assuredly don't support massive low skilled immigration. However the commoditization of labor has benefits, just as the commoditization of almost anything has benefits. I'd rather live in a meritocratic, republican capitalistic state than most of the alternatives.

I would too, but that works only when everybody agrees to play by the same individualistic rules.

"I would too, but that works only when everybody agrees to play by the same individualistic rules."

Well yes, but a society with relatively segregated and protected labor, is almost certainly one where the rules are different depending on who you know and who you are.

The 1st amendment and our tradition of religious diversity may play some role as well. Countries like France have a tradition of strict neutrality, whereby religion is not allowed to enter the public sphere in any respect. Although the US does not have the same respect for Islam that it does for Christianity, there is still a legal rule and cultural norm of not only respecting but also accommodating devout religious practice. People may balk at the idea that the US culture accommodates Muslims, but the data cited suggests otherwise. Our expressive stance toward Muslim's may not be ideal but the actual rules and norms of US society are far more tolerant of religious diversity.

Another relatively boring AlexT post (Muslims and job immobility in the EU--yawn) that's destined to get 100+ comments. AlexT has a knack for trolling. TC does too, but TC's troll posts are more interesting to me, but for some reason don't get as many comments. I think it's the "familiarity - Beethoven factor"--Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is hardly ever rated as any classic music fan's favorite piece, since it's been heard so often, even though objectively (if you asked a music robot to rate it), it's outstanding. And Kofi Kofi Anan, Boutros Boutros Kahli of United Nations fame thinks so too (Wikipedia): "In 2001, Beethoven's autographed score of the Ninth Symphony, held by the Berlin State Library, was added to the United Nations Memory of the World Programme Heritage list, becoming the first musical score so honored."

The response to this article has been shocking.

Alex puts forward that there is yet another cost to unions and burdensome labor regulations: that they may have disproportionate impact on immigrants.

That's an interesting argument, and one that I think has legs. Sadly, almost every comment so far has been about the middle eastern race as opposed to the core argument.

For the record, I think Alex has a great point here, and it shows that the current model in Europe will likely need modification. Sadly, the most likely outcome isn't less labor market regulation, but more, which will have even more unintended consequences.

MR is a libertarian blog, and there is a sad interdependence between libertarians and chauvinists. Libertarians don't like to care for people, and chauvinists don't like to care for those people.

If they were smarter chauvinists above they'd keep their libertarian masks in place, and be a little more uniform in their criticism of labor market regulation.

The libertarian position usually involves free movement of people.

I think it is that TC and AT do not remove their posts and thus they congregate where they are not deleted. This blog has the highest comment quality level of any blog I know that does not regularly delete Steve Sailer.

If there were an anti free market site that did not delete racist comments and still maintained a decent level it would be similarly overrun.

Why would they delete Steve Sailer? He's a perfectly amiable fellow and his opinions are qualified in ways his votaries' are not.

If you want to see a comment board overrun with repellent characters, have a look at Jim Hoft's Gateway Pundit. Hoft himself is unremarkable, but he does not moderate his comments at all and anyone who cannot abide the ugliness just stays away.

MR does _not_ delete Steve Sailer. You can see his posts in this thread.

Lots of sites ban/filter people who disagree with them, especially those who do disagree articulately.

Personally, I've had many super polite comments deleted from Econlog for example, and it's quite clear that their comment section is more aggressively moderated with less dissent.

Meh, better that they be exposed to the counterarguments to their offensive and poorly thought out pro-racist thinking, in the rare occasions when they can step away from confirmation bias and actually open their eyes to the reasons that people disagree with them (as opposed to much strawmanning and personalized insults).

The world's best commenter is Peter Schaeffer.

"That’s an interesting argument, and one that I think has legs. Sadly, almost every comment so far has been about the middle eastern race as opposed to the core argument."

There have been lots of comments about the argument. Some pro and some con. The topic directly addressed the "Disaffection of European Muslim Youth". A large number of comments have been specifically contrasting Muslims with other groups and European Muslims versus American Muslims.

But most relevantly, there's been a lot of Muslim terrorism in the news lately, so of course the conversation drifts that way. It's pretty damn silly to be complaining that people aren't addressing the topic in the "right" way. It reeks of Political Correctness.

How much about heart disease in the news, which takes out thousands of times as many Americans each and every year?

It reeks of disproprotionate and irrational fear. But, stories on terrorism get more clicks and viewers than being lectured about lifestyle decisions.

It's funny how the Left gets all bent out of shape after low probability events like mass shootings or police killings. In fact, I recall seeing your comments on MR leading the charge of disproportionate fear.

Second amendment rights? Can 'em. The non-existent right of a statistically hostile religious group to emigrate at the expense of taxpayers? Sacrosanct.

Making assimilation works requires some very anti-European ideals, like a free labor market.

Work seems to be essential for integration, yet there is this strong attitude among certain leftists (I'm not imagining this because they have said it explicitly) that welfare is better than work. I wonder if someone in a position of power in Europe thought they were doing a favor to the immigrants by keeping them on welfare, that they would be even more grateful for being let into the country.

Who says welfare is better than work? Are you so unaware of the argumentation on the other side of the spectrum that that's how it seems to you?

I seriously have been told those exact words by more than one guy, in person. That's why I said they said it explicitly and that I wasn't imagining it.

'Less labor market participation means people are free to pursue art and leisure [and terrorism]' - Nancy Pelosi and the DNC.

There are over 70 comments as I speak and the ones trading in the vulgar Richard Lynn shtick number about a dozen, of which 10 come from one person. That's a bit shy of 'almost every comment'.

I think the response is because folks rightly understand that while Alex draws the connection, he and the vast majority of other immigration proponents are perfectly willing to ignore it because they prioritize "more immigration" over "less labor market restrictions". Even if the latter seriously damages the case for the former.

As a pragmatic libertarian, I actually want more and simplified immigration, but it's only in the context of a bargain in which we get something on other margins that libertarians care about:
* Less labor market restrictions.
* Reductions in the welfare state.
* Cultural tolerance and buy-in from all parties.

The core argument is about the middle Eastern race, as should be obvious from the title.

This assumes people are fungible, so it doesn't matter if you import Bavarian engineers who want lower taxes or Arab militants who will hoover up every bit of welfare you shove at them.

Don't worry - Bernie Sanders will close our gap with Europe

Every other immigrant group does fine in Europe with the sole exception of Muslims. Vietnamese (Germany, France, Czech Republic), Chinese (Italy, Germany, Spain), Indians (Britain), black Christians (Britain, France, Belgium) and Latin Americans (Spain) are all culturally and economically integrated, not to mention the massive intra-European migration (e.g., there are over a million Poles in Britain and miraculously not one has blown anything up). The empirical evidence suggest that Muslims failure to integrate might have primarily a cultural explanation that's unique to them and not a general economic one.

This is my suspicion, I am not worried about Latin American terrorists in the US. This is one of the reasons I have little worry about Mexican immigration. And though I am wary of the expansion of Mexico's state collapse I think they are not terrorists but gangsters and note criminals mostly prey on each other and are very unlikely to be involved in suicide bombings.

Mexico's homicide rate is higher than it was 10 years ago, but still no worse than Latin American normal. Mexico isn't a failed state. It just has a crime problem.

You can make it better or worse with labor law and welfare policy. I tend to suspect that the problem is that absent an elite with adequate self-confidence and inclined to side with their own push-comes-to-shove, muslim minorities tend to respond aggressively. India and Israel proper function passably with much larger muslim minorities than you find in any European state.

"You can make it better or worse with labor law and welfare policy."

Indeed and pragmatically we may well see a fairly large scale test on whether Europe's social welfare policies are "better" than the US's social welfare policies.

Will the refugees drift towards the middle class and away from the welfare rolls within the next 10 years or will they remain largely lower class and welfare dependent? Can large groups of low skilled workers successfully integrate into the European model?

This assumes that the Europeans don't just kick out the large number of refugees that have already arrived, of course.

Canada has a similarly strong welfare strong and inflexible labour market, and we don't have those problems. I think Alex makes a very interesting argument, but explicit efforts to integrate immigrants in a non-conformist manner can succeed, and so the problem is not likely nearly as relevant as he suggests.

However, a difference is that Europe has higher imimgration of lowly educated immigrant populations, so the labour market inflexibilities (harder to fire, minimum wages) are likely to be more relevant there for that fact.

"Canada has a similarly strong welfare strong and inflexible labour market, and we don’t have those problems"

Canada has a more free/flexible labor market than any major European country according to this ranking:

"However, a difference is that Europe has higher imimgration of lowly educated immigrant populations, ..." Canada generally restricts immigration to those that score well on a merit scale and/or have job offers. That being said, Canada, has accepted 26,000 Syrian refugees. It remains to be seen if they'll integrate well.

Exactly. Making that argument could get the authors of this blog branded as bigots and racists so they along with most of the mainstream commentators have to start with the assumption that it can't be due to Islam as a religion and find bits and pieces of evidence to justify that position.

Maybe they just don't say it because they're simply not bigots and racists.

Only a bigot and a racist would see such an explanation.

Labeling positions with pejorative words isn't an argument. Opinion disregarded.

So even if the explanation was actually true, you're still a bigot?

Nice. Very nice. I thought we assessed claims on evidence not ad hominem.

Here in Britain we also have our ex-Indian Hindus and Sikhs, Nepalese buddhists, Polish Catholics, a smattering of Baltic protestants, our ex-Hong Kong Taoists and Buddhists, and of course our sizable non-dom US and French communities. None of them ever cause any trouble as a group.

Strangely enough, Pakistan and Bangladeshi muslims on the other hand...

Exactly, and it's so obvious to non-ideologues.

In the UK, immigrants from India do better at school and work than native British. Immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh do much, much worse.

And America hasn't experienced mass immigration of poor Muslims, only a vetted elite till recently. Even with a recent increase in poorer Muslim migrants there aren't enough to create cultural enclaves that preserve their damaging belief systems.

Though the growing Somali population in Minnesota shows it may only be a matter of time before the nexus of backwardness and terror takes root.

According to this theory, there should be much less of a problem with integration in the UK than in continental europe, as the labour market in the UK is more flexible.

At this point I can't help but think of the 7/7 bombings, Rotherham, and that Muslim shopkeeper who was murdered by another Muslim a couple of days ago for wishing his Christian customers a happy Easter.

Was revolutionary violence more or less common in the West before mass unionisation? Seems like more. I guess Alex Tabarrok really wants those communist revolutionaries (or perhaps believes that the new urban poor will just get with the Libertarian program, because it's so well reasoned...).

Belgian labour market settings are generally unfavourable to the employment outcomes of low-skilled workers. Reduced employment rates stem from high labour costs, which deter demand for low-productivity workers

They should use low productivity jobs. IMHO it is more accurate:

Belgian labour market settings are generally unfavourable to the employment outcomes of low-skilled workers. Reduced employment rates stem from high labour costs, which deter demand for low-productivity jobs

It is true that some 650,000 Muslims live in Belgium, but five times as many — 3.3 million — live in the United States. Why hasn’t America become a hotbed of Islamic extremism?

It is probably partly because it is harder for Muslims to get to the USA so the Muslim immigrants to the USA tend to be smarter. I do agree though, that idle hands are the devils workshop.

Perhaps we should replace the minimum wage with an hourly wage subsidy.

Expanding the EITC would be a great idea!

Quite surprised (though I may have missed it) that no-one has pointed out the glaring difference between social/cultural attitudes in Europe and the US (or Canada, NZ and Australia) around immigration. Immigrants -- from Scandinavia, Europe, the Middle East, SE Asia, wherever -- in the latter category are for the most part told they will be American/Canadian/New Zealander/Australian.

None of these immigrants are ever told that they will be 'French' or 'German' because these categorisations aren't just of national identity, but also of ethnic identity.

This is a phenomenon of the incredible cultural/political/historical/demographic density of the Western European peninsula. Consider someone from Munich who moved to Paris 10, 20 or even 30 years ago. No one would consider them French; they would be considered German.

And even this example strays from reality; consider Belgium itself, a state that has been in existence for less than 200 years. Identity isn't necessarily 'Belgian', but Flemish or Walloon. The point of these examples is to state that national identity and ethnic identity in Europe blur in a more profound way than in other countries whose populations are dominated by immigrants.

This, to me, would be the clear area for further study and the explanation mentioned in the OP, though it strays away from economics and into sociology and political science.

True to an extent. Though my uncle fled to Germany from Syria when he was 18, became a surgeon and head of a large hospital, and he loved Germany and many Germans loved him as one of their own.

You don't need to become fully German or French or Belgian in order to be a productive and accepted member of society. Just stay off welfare, don't commit crime and make a contribution.

There are many Chinatowns across Europe. No one is asking for moratoriums on Chinese immigration.

Except none of the recent attackers have been 'immigrants' so virtually everything on this page is moot. I'm not even getting started on the implicit racism that underlies the analysis. Not that facts or details matter of course when you're only real agenda is to drive down workers' pay and conditions.

I live in Brussels and to use what has happened here to attack workers' rights is really rather distasteful.

Your garbled reasoning reveals something you probably did not intend: in order to accommodate its African and Arab immigrants, European countries will have to re-write their social contracts with their own citizens. Europeans will either accept this, or they will overthrow their governments.

It would be very nice. If only terrorist wold be immigrants. But in the majority, they aren't, they are children of immigrant.

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