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The effect of far right parties on the location choice of immigrants: Evidence from Lega Nord Mayors

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  • Bracco, Emanuele
  • De Paola, Maria
  • Green, Colin P.
  • Scoppa, Vincenzo

Abstract

Immigration has increasingly taken centre-stage in the political landscape. Part of this has been a rise in far-right, anti-immigration parties in a range of countries. Existing evidence suggests that the presence of immigrants generates an advantage for parties with anti-immigration or nationalist platforms. This paper explores a closely related but overlooked issue: how immigrant behaviour is influenced by these parties. We focus on immigrant location decisions in Northern Italy, an area that has seen the rise of the anti-immigration party Lega Nord. We construct a dataset of mayoral elections in Italy for the years 2002–2014 and estimate the effect of electing a mayor belonging to, or supported by, Lega Nord. Exploiting close elections in a regression discontinuity framework we demonstrate that the election of a Lega Nord mayor discourages immigrants from moving into the municipality. We also provide suggestive evidence that the effect is driven primarily by the anti-immigration politics of Lega Nord insofar as it is absent in the period before their adoption of an explicitly anti-immigration platform and is concentrated in smaller, less educated, municipalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Bracco, Emanuele & De Paola, Maria & Green, Colin P. & Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2018. "The effect of far right parties on the location choice of immigrants: Evidence from Lega Nord Mayors," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 12-26.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:166:y:2018:i:c:p:12-26
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.07.012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Matteo Gamalerio, 2018. "Not Welcome Anymore: The Effect of Electoral Incentives on the Reception of Refugees," CESifo Working Paper Series 7212, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Bratti, Massimiliano & Deiana, Claudio & Havari, Enkelejda & Mazzarella, Gianluca & Meroni, Elena Claudia, 2017. "What Are You Voting For? Proximity to Refugee Reception Centres and Voting in the 2016 Italian Constitutional Referendum," IZA Discussion Papers 11060, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Giulia Bettin & Agnese Sacchi, 2019. "Health spending in Italy: the impact of immigrants," Working Papers 433, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Immigration; Geographical Mobility; Voting behaviour; Political economy; Regression discontinuity design;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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