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Immigration, Wages, And Compositional Amenities

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  • David Card
  • Christian Dustmann
  • Ian Preston

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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Suggested Citation

  • David Card & Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2012. "Immigration, Wages, And Compositional Amenities," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 78-119, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:10:y:2012:i:1:p:78-119
    DOI: j.1542-4774.2011.01051.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Butcher, Kristin F & Card, David, 1991. "Immigration and Wages: Evidence from the 1980's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 292-296, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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