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The political economy of immigration in a direct democracy: The case of Switzerland

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  • Krishnakumar, Jaya
  • Müller, Tobias

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the determination of immigration policy in a direct democracy setting. We formulate a model of voting and participation behavior integrating instrumental and expressive motivations. The model is estimated using data drawn from a survey carried out after a vote in Switzerland in 2000 on a popular initiative proposing to implement immigration restrictions. The model enables us to recover estimates of participation costs and preferences towards immigration and analyze how these preferences are translated into actual voting outcomes. The results reveal a substantial gap (“participation bias”) between attitudes towards immigration in the general population (43% favorable to restrictions) and the outcome of the vote (26%).

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 56 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 174-189

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:56:y:2012:i:2:p:174-189

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

Related research

Keywords: Immigration policy; Political economy; Voting; Attitudes towards migration;

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References

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  1. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2007. "Does the Welfare State Affect Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants? Evidence Across Countries," Development Working Papers 233, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  2. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
  3. Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
  4. Nelson, Forrest D., 1977. "Censored regression models with unobserved, stochastic censoring thresholds," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 309-327, November.
  5. Mayda, Anna Maria, 2004. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 1115, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Richard Sinnott, 2004. "The Determinants of Individual Attitudes Towards Immigration," Trinity Economics Papers 20042, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  7. Amrita Dhillon & Susana Peralta, 2002. "Economic Theories Of Voter Turnout," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F332-F352, June.
  8. Ortega, Francesc, 2005. "Immigration quotas and skill upgrading," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1841-1863, September.
  9. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
  10. Chiswick, Barry R. & Hatton, Timothy J., 2002. "International Migration and the Integration of Labor Markets," IZA Discussion Papers 559, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2008. "From Individual Attitudes towards Migrants to Migration Policy Outcomes. Theory and Evidence," Development Working Papers 251, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  12. Fischer, A J, 1999. " The Probability of Being Decisive," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 101(3-4), pages 267-83, December.
  13. Philippe Thalmann, 2004. "The Public Acceptance of Green Taxes: 2 Million Voters Express Their Opinion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 179-217, 04.
  14. Facchini, Giovanni & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "The political economy of international factor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 201-219, September.
  15. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
  16. Gronau, Reuben, 1973. "The Effect of Children on the Housewife's Value of Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S168-99, Part II, .
  17. Miguet, Florence, 2008. "Voting about immigration policy: What does the Swiss experience tell us?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 628-641, September.
  18. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
  19. Coate, Stephen & Conlin, Michael & Moro, Andrea, 2008. "The performance of pivotal-voter models in small-scale elections: Evidence from Texas liquor referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 582-596, April.
  20. Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Anna Maria & Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Do Interest Groups Affect Immigration?," IZA Discussion Papers 3183, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bougheas, Spiros & Nelson, Doug, 2013. "On the political economy of high skilled migration and international trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 206-224.
  2. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda & Prachi Mishra, 2009. "Do Interest Groups affect US Immigration Policy?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0904, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  3. Martin Halla & Alexander F. Wagner & Josef Zweimüller, 2012. "Does Immigration into Their Neighborhoods Incline Voters Toward the Extreme Right? The Case of the Freedom Party of Austria," Economics working papers 2012-05, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  4. Martin Halla & Alexander F. Wagner & Josef Zweimüller, 2012. "Immigration and voting for the extreme right," ECON - Working Papers 083, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2013.

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