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Immigration, Wages, and Compositional Amenities

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  • David Card

    (University of California-Berkeley)

  • Christian Dustmann

    ()
    (University College London)

  • Ian Preston

    ()
    (University College London)

Abstract

There is strong public opposition to increased immigration throughout Europe. Given the modest economic impacts of immigration estimated in most studies, the depth of antiimmigrant sentiment is puzzling. Immigration, however, does not just affect wages and taxes. It also changes the composition of the local population, threatening the "compositional amenities" that natives derive from their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. In this paper we use a simple latent factor model, combined with data for 21 countries from the 2002 European Social Survey (ESS), to measure the relative importance of economic and compositional concerns in driving opinions about immigration policy. The ESS included a unique battery of questions on the labor market and social impacts of immigration, as well as on the desirability of increasing or reducing immigrant inflows. We find that compositional concerns are 2-5 times more important in explaining variation in individual attitudes toward immigration policy than concerns over wages and taxes. Likewise, most of the difference in opinion between more- and lesseducated respondents is attributable to heightened compositional concerns among people with lower education.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London in its series Norface Discussion Paper Series with number 2012013.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nor:wpaper:2012013

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Keywords: Immigration; Economic Effects; Attitudes;

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  1. Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University), 2005. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-10, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Kevin H. O'Rourke, & Richard Sinnott, 2003. "Migration flows: Political Economy of Migration and the Empirical Challenges," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp06, IIIS.
  3. Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Why are people more pro-trade than pro-migration?," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0611, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  4. Butcher, Kristin F & Card, David, 1991. "Immigration and Wages: Evidence from the 1980's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 292-96, May.
  5. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2007. "Why are Immigrants' Incarceration Rates so Low? Evidence on Selective Immigration, Deterrence, and Deportation," NBER Working Papers 13229, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2007. "A Unified Framework for Measuring Preferences for Schools and Neighborhoods," NBER Working Papers 13236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Immigrazione," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 3, pages 363-407, July-Sept.
  9. Dustmann Christian & Preston Ian P, 2007. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-41, November.
  10. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S95-S126, December.
  11. Francisco Rivera-Batiz & Myeong-Su Yun & Ira Gang, 2002. "Economic Strain, Ethnic Concentration and Attitudes Towards Foreigners in the European Union," Departmental Working Papers 200214, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  12. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
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