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Immigration, Wages, And Compositional Amenities

Listed author(s):
  • David Card
  • Christian Dustmann
  • Ian Preston

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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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1542-4774.2011.01051.x
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Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 10 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 78-119

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:10:y:2012:i:1:p:78-119
DOI: j.1542-4774.2011.01051.x
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  1. Kristin F. Butcher & David Card, 1991. "Immigration and Wages: Evidence From the 1980s," Working Papers 661, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Mayda, Anna Maria, 2008. "Why are people more pro-trade than pro-migration?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 160-163, December.
  5. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2007. "A Unified Framework for Measuring Preferences for Schools and Neighborhoods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 588-638, 08.
  6. Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Immigrazione," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 3, pages 363-407, July-Sept.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. repec:pri:indrel:dsp012b88qc18j is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2006. "Why Are Immigrants' Incarceration Rates So Low? Evidence on Selective Immigration, Deterrence, and Deportation," Departmental Working Papers 200605, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  13. Gang, Ira N. & Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L. & Yun, Myeong-Su, 2002. "Economic Strain, Ethnic Concentration and Attitudes Towards Foreigners in the European Union," IZA Discussion Papers 578, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374.
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