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Voting about immigration policy: What does the Swiss experience tell us?

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  • Miguet, Florence

Abstract

This paper draws on Swiss direct democracy to review the Swiss experience with immigration, which has been shaped strongly by regular voting on immigration policies. Relying on two unique post-vote data-sets on how Swiss citizens voted on initiatives directed at containing the proportion of foreigners in the population, we improve on past empirical evidence by by-passing the problem of "hypothetical bias" present in the analysis of conventional survey data. Controlling for the participation bias due to non-mandatory voting, we find evidence that the hypothetical bias hampering pre-vote surveys may be large but that turnout does not have a decisive influence on the outcome of a vote. Confirming political-economy predictions, education matters in the shaping of immigration preferences but non-economic arguments also play an important role.

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  • Miguet, Florence, 2008. "Voting about immigration policy: What does the Swiss experience tell us?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 628-641, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:24:y:2008:i:3:p:628-641
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    Cited by:

    1. Azarnert, Leonid V., 2010. "Immigration, fertility, and human capital: A model of economic decline of the West," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 431-440, December.
    2. repec:pra:mprapa:47899 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sobbrio, Francesco & Navarra, Pietro, 2010. "Electoral participation and communicative voting in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 185-207, June.
    4. Bougheas, Spiros & Nelson, Doug, 2013. "On the political economy of high skilled migration and international trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 206-224.
    5. Marfouk, Abdeslam, 2013. "Préjugés et fausses idées sur l’immigration et les immigrés, vecteurs de discrimination en matière d’accès à l’emploi
      [false ideas about immigrants and immigration and discrimination in labor marke
      ," MPRA Paper 47989, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Otto, Alkis Henri & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2014. "Immigration and election outcomes — Evidence from city districts in Hamburg," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 67-79.
    7. Naiditch, Claire & Vranceanu, Radu, 2010. "Equilibrium migration with invested remittances: The EECA evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 454-474, December.
    8. Brunner, Beatrice & Kuhn, Andreas, 2014. "Immigration, Cultural Distance and Natives' Attitudes Towards Immigrants: Evidence from Swiss Voting Results," IZA Discussion Papers 8409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. O'Connell, Michael, 2011. "How do high-skilled natives view high-skilled immigrants? A test of trade theory predictions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 230-240, June.
    10. Krishnakumar, Jaya & Müller, Tobias, 2012. "The political economy of immigration in a direct democracy: The case of Switzerland," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 174-189.
    11. Aguiar-Conraria, Luís & Magalhães, Pedro C., 2010. "How quorum rules distort referendum outcomes: Evidence from a pivotal voter model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 541-557, December.
    12. Giuseppe Russo, 2011. "Voting over selective immigration policies with immigration aversion," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 325-351, December.
    13. Aleksynska, Mariya, 2011. "Civic participation of immigrants in Europe: Assimilation, origin, and destination country effects," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 566-585, September.
    14. Lena Calahorrano, 2011. "Population Aging and Individual Attitudes toward Immigration: Disentangling Age, Cohort and Time Effects," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 389, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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