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The Impact of Social Expenditure on Attitudes Towards Immigration in Europe

Author

Listed:
  • Antonio M. Jaime-Castillo

    () (University of Málaga)

  • Ildefonso Marqués-Perales

    () (University of Seville)

  • Javier Álvarez-Gálvez

    () (Complutense University of Madrid
    Loyola University Andalusia)

Abstract

Abstract There is a growing body of literature dealing with the causes behind anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia. Based on the literature on the fiscal burden model, this paper contends that the differences in attitudes toward immigration, between low and high statuses, can be explained by the size of the welfare state. We argue that the impact of socio-economic status on attitudes toward immigration is larger in countries where social expenditure is high. Since a potential increase in the number of welfare recipients due to new immigrants might lead to a reduction in per capita transfers, low-income individuals in these countries are expected to be more concerned about the effect of immigration on social benefits. Using multilevel models and data from the European Social Survey we have found that while the effect of socio-economic status on attitudes toward immigration is positive there is a great deal of variation between countries. The difference in attitudes between high and low socio-economic statuses increases as social expenditure increases. Moreover, increases of social expenditure in the short run increases anti-immigrant sentiment as it raises concerns about the impact of immigration on welfare services.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio M. Jaime-Castillo & Ildefonso Marqués-Perales & Javier Álvarez-Gálvez, 2016. "The Impact of Social Expenditure on Attitudes Towards Immigration in Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 126(3), pages 1089-1108, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:126:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-015-0939-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-015-0939-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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