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Public Opinion on Immigration: Has the Recession Changed Minds?

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  • Hatton, Timothy J.

    ()
    (University of Essex)

Abstract

It is widely believed that the current recession has soured public attitudes towards immigration. But most existing studies are cross sectional and can shed little light on the economy-wide forces that shift public opinion on immigration. In this paper I use the six rounds of the European Social Survey (2002-2012) to test the effects of economic shocks on immigration opinion for 20 countries. The recession that began in 2008 provides a useful test because its severity varied so widely across Europe. For Europe as a whole the shifts in average opinion have been remarkably mild. But trends in opinion have varied across countries, especially in the responses to a question on whether immigrants are good or bad for the economy. At the country level, pro-immigration opinion is negatively related to the share of immigrants in the population and to the share social benefits in GDP, but only weakly to unemployment. These effects differ somewhat across responses to different questions relating to immigration policy and to the desirability of immigrants. The recession also influenced other attitudes and traits that are sometimes linked to opinion on immigration.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 8248.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8248

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Keywords: public opinion; immigration attitudes; immigration policy;

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  1. Héricourt, Jérôme & Spielvogel, Gilles, 2012. "How beliefs about the impact of immigration shape policy preferences: Evidence from Europe," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University 123456789/9773, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2007. "Does the Welfare State Affect Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants? Evidence Across Countries," Development Working Papers, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano 233, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  3. Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 510-530, August.
  4. Tito Boeri, 2010. "Immigration to the Land of Redistribution," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(308), pages 651-687, October.
  5. Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Anna Maria, 2009. "Individual attitudes towards skilled migration: an empirical analysis across countries," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 7592, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Richard Sinnott, 2004. "The Determinants of Individual Attitudes Towards Immigration," Trinity Economics Papers, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics 20042, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  7. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2007. "Public Finance And Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 1-33, 03.
  8. Bryan, Mark L. & Jenkins, Stephen P., 2013. "Regression Analysis of Country Effects Using Multilevel Data: A Cautionary Tale," IZA Discussion Papers 7583, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Kevin Denny & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2013. "Irish Attitudes To Immigration During And After The Boom," Working Papers, Geary Institute, University College Dublin 201322, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  10. Lena Calahorrano, 2013. "Population Aging and Individual Attitudes toward Immigration: Disentangling Age, Cohort and Time Effects," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 342-353, 05.
  11. Ira N. Gang & Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz & Myeng-Su Yun, 2013. "Economic Strain, Education and Attitudes towards Foreigners in the European Union," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 177-190, 05.
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