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What determines attitudes to immigration in European countries? An analysis at the regional level

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  • Markaki, Yvonni
  • Longhi, Simonetta

Abstract

Different disciplines within the social sciences have produced large theoretical and empirical literatures to explain the determinants of anti-immigration attitudes. We bring together these literatures in a unified framework and identify testable hypotheses on what characteristics of the individual and of the local environment are likely to have an impact on anti-immigration attitudes. Most of the previous literature focuses on the explanation of attitudes at the individual level. When cross country comparisons are involved the heterogeneity across countries is modelled by fixed or random effects in multilevel models. We analyse anti-immigration attitudes across regions of 24 European countries to explain why people living in different regions differ in terms of their attitudes towards immigration. We isolate the impact of the region from regressions using individual-level data and explain this residual regional heterogeneity in attitudes with aggregate level indicators of regional characteristics. We find that regions with a higher percentage of immigrants born outside the EU and a higher unemployment rate among the immigrant population show a higher probability that natives express negative attitudes to immigration. Regions with a higher unemployment rate among natives however, show less pronounced anti-immigrant attitudes.

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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2012-25.

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Date of creation: 05 Nov 2012
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2012-25

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Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
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  1. Bell, Brian & Nickell, Stephen & Quintini, Glenda, 2002. "Wage equations, wage curves and all that," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 341-360, July.
  2. Correia, Mark E., 2010. "Determinants of attitudes toward police of Latino immigrants and non-immigrants," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 99-107, January.
  3. Francisco Herreros & Henar Criado, 2009. "Social Trust, Social Capital and Perceptions of Immigration," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, Political Studies Association, vol. 57, pages 337-355, 06.
  4. István Kónya, 2005. "Minorities and majorities: a dynamic model of assimilation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1431-1452, November.
  5. Jens Hainmueller & Michael J. Hiscox, 2005. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," Others, EconWPA 0505013, EconWPA.
  6. Dustmann, Christian & Preston, Ian, 2001. "Attitudes to Ethic Minorities, Ethnic Context and Location Decisions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 353-73, April.
  7. Simonetta Longhi & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2004. "A Meta-Analytic Assessment of the Effect of Immigration on Wages," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-134/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Loris Vezzali & Dino Giovannini, 2011. "Intergroup contact and reduction of explicit and implicit prejudice toward immigrants: a study with Italian businessmen owning small and medium enterprises," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 213-222, January.
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