IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

An Irish Welcome? Changing Irish Attitudes to Immigrants and Immigration: The Role of Recession and Immigration


  • Frances McGinnity

    (Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin)

  • Gillian Kingston

    (Trinity College Dublin)


This paper investigates attitudes to immigrants in Ireland in the period 2002 to 2012 and the role of economic recession, the increase in immigration, and respondents’ level of education on understanding changing attitudes. Attitudes to immigrants in Ireland became more negative as unemployment rose, but once we account for this, a higher proportion of immigrants was associated with more positive attitudes. Highly educated respondents (with third-level qualifications) report more favourable attitudes to immigrants than those with lower education. The attitudes of those with lower education were more responsive to economic conditions, meaning the gap in attitudes between high and low educated widened in recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Frances McGinnity & Gillian Kingston, 2017. "An Irish Welcome? Changing Irish Attitudes to Immigrants and Immigration: The Role of Recession and Immigration," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 48(3), pages 253-279.
  • Handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:48:y:2017:i:3:p:253-279

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yvonni Markaki & Simonetta Longhi, 2012. "What Determines Attitudes to Immigration in European Countries? An Analysis at the Regional Level," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1233, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Gillian Kingston & Frances McGinnity & Philip J O’Connell, 2015. "Discrimination in the labour market: nationality, ethnicity and the recession," Work, Employment & Society, British Sociological Association, vol. 29(2), pages 213-232, April.
    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. Elish Kelly & Seamus McGuinness & Philip J O’connell & David Haugh & Alberto GonzÁlez Pandiella, 2014. "Transitions In and Out of Unemployment among Young People in the Irish Recession," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 56(4), pages 616-634, December.
    5. Alan Barrett & Séamus McGuiness, 2012. "The Irish Labour Market and the Great Recession," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(2), pages 27-33, 08.
    6. Marco Manacorda & Alan Manning & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2012. "The Impact Of Immigration On The Structure Of Wages: Theory And Evidence From Britain," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 120-151, February.
    7. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
    8. Timothy J. Hatton, 2016. "Immigration, public opinion and the recession in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 31(86), pages 205-246.
    9. repec:ces:ifodic:v:10:y:2012:i:2:p:18948043 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. McGinnity, Fran & Russell, Helen & Watson, Dorothy & Kingston, Gillian & Kelly, Elish, 2014. "Winners and Losers? The Equality Impact of the Great Recession in Ireland," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number BKMNEXT265, December.
    11. Kingston, Gillian & McGinnity, Frances & O'Connell, Philip J., 2015. "Discrimination in the Labour Market: Nationality, Ethnicity and the Recession," Papers RB2015/2/2, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    12. Jennifer A. Heerwig & Brian J. McCabe, 2009. "Education and Social Desirability Bias: The Case of a Black Presidential Candidate," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 90(3), pages 674-686, September.
    13. Kevin Denny & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2013. "Irish Attitudes To Immigration During And After The Boom," Working Papers 201322, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    14. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J., 2007. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 399-442, April.
    15. Alexander L. Janus, 2010. "The Influence of Social Desirability Pressures on Expressed Immigration Attitudes," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(4), pages 928-946, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. McGinnity, Fran & Grotti, Raffaele & Russell, Helen & Fahey, Éamonn, 2018. "Attitudes to Diversity in Ireland," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number BKMNEXT350, December.

    More about this item


    immigration; immigrants; recession; Ireland;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eso:journl:v:48:y:2017:i:3:p:253-279. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martina Lawless). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.