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The political economy of immigration in a direct democracy: The case of Switzerland

  • Krishnakumar, Jaya
  • Müller, Tobias

In this paper, we analyze the determination of immigration policy in a direct democracy setting. We formulate a model of voting and participation behavior integrating instrumental and expressive motivations. The model is estimated using data drawn from a survey carried out after a vote in Switzerland in 2000 on a popular initiative proposing to implement immigration restrictions. The model enables us to recover estimates of participation costs and preferences towards immigration and analyze how these preferences are translated into actual voting outcomes. The results reveal a substantial gap (“participation bias”) between attitudes towards immigration in the general population (43% favorable to restrictions) and the outcome of the vote (26%).

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 56 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 174-189

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:56:y:2012:i:2:p:174-189
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  1. Fischer, A J, 1999. " The Probability of Being Decisive," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 101(3-4), pages 267-83, December.
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