The use of private ships, such as those from Sea-Eye or SOS Méditerranée, only make crossings cheaper and thus increase demand, reported the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.
In addition, private aid also makes the work of tugs easier since cheaper Chinese inflatable boats with weak outboard motors are used instead of seaworthy wooden boats, according to economists Claudio Deiana (University of Cagliari), Vikram Maheshri (University of Houston) and Giovanni Mastrobuoni (University of Turin).
Even if the aid to migrants organised by non-governmental organisations saved many lives, “unintended side effects” must brought into the picture since they have created false incentives. The results raise complex ethical questions, Mastrobuoni conceded to the Swiss newspaper.
If it were true that private aid provided false incentives, would abolishing it mean that a larger number of victims would be accepted in the short term, but would drown less in the long term? Conversely, the newspaper writes: “Does a proponent of sea rescue risk that in the short term more people will be saved, but in the long term they will lose their lives all the more because the number of migrants is increasing?”
In order to break out of this dilemma, the incentives would have to be reduced substantially, the economist explained. Causes of migration such as war, poverty and persecution in the countries of origin should be combated. Europe also needed a legal immigration system.
A Princeton University study in November had shown that there was a link between low social security benefits and falling immigration . In Denmark, the then center-right government halved social benefits for non-EU foreigners in 2002. In 2012, the center-left government, led by Social Democrat Helle Thorning-Schmidt, abolished the regulation.
In 2015, Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s center-right government was reinstated. According to the authors of the study by economist Henrik Kleven, immigration of non-EU foreigners decreased by around 5 000 people per year between 2002 and 2012.