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Immigration to the U.S.: A problem for the Republicans or the Democrats?

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  • A.-M. Mayda
  • G. Peri
  • W. Steingress

Abstract

This article studies the impact of immigration on the share of votes to the Republican and Democratic Party in US elections between 1994 and 2012. Our analysis is based on the variation across states and years and addresses the issue of endogeneity of immigrant flows using a set of instruments that leverage distance from country of origin and historical settlements of foreign-born to obtain a proxy for supply-driven immigration flows. Pooling all elections, immigration to the U.S. had a negative average impact on the vote share to the Republican Party. This is consistent with the typical view of political analysts in the U.S. However, this average effect – mainly detectable in House elections – has two components. When the growth of the immigrant population is due to an increase in naturalized migrants, the effect on Republican vote is clearly negative. Yet, when the share of non-citizen migrants in the population increases and their share in the state population is large – making immigration a salient policy issue – the impact on the Republican vote share is positive. These results are consistent with stronger voting preferences of naturalized immigrants for the Democratic Party relative to native voters, but also with native voters' political preferences shifting towards the Republican Party in places with high immigration of non-citizens. In our estimates, the second effect is only significant when immigrants are a large portion of the local population.

Suggested Citation

  • A.-M. Mayda & G. Peri & W. Steingress, 2016. "Immigration to the U.S.: A problem for the Republicans or the Democrats?," Working papers 597, Banque de France.
  • Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:597
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Maria Mayda & Giovanni Peri & Walter Steingress, 2018. "The Political Impact of Immigration: Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 24510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Max F. Steinhardt & Maurizio Zanardi, 2020. "The political economy of trade and migration: Evidence from the U.S. Congress," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 250-278, July.
    3. 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.
    4. Fetzer, Thiemo, 2018. "Did Austerity Cause Brexit?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 381, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Yi Che & Yi Lu & Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott & Zhigang Tao, 2016. "Does Trade Liberalization with China Influence U.S. Elections?," NBER Working Papers 22178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Nicole Rae Baerg & Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe†Agnoli, 2018. "Documenting the unauthorized: Political responses to unauthorized immigration," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 1-26, March.
    7. Edo, Anthony & Giesing, Yvonne & Öztunc, Jonathan & Poutvaara, Panu, 2019. "Immigration and electoral support for the far-left and the far-right," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 99-143.
    8. Rozo, Sandra V. & Vargas, Juan F., 2021. "Brothers or invaders? How crisis-driven migrants shape voting behavior," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    9. Becker, Sascha O. & Ferrara, Andreas, 2019. "Consequences of forced migration: A survey of recent findings," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-16.
    10. Louis-Philippe Beland & Bulent Unel, 2018. "The impact of party affiliation of US governors on immigrants’ labor market outcomes," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(2), pages 627-670, April.
    11. Pascal Jaupart, 2018. "Divided island: Haitian immigration and electoral outcomes in the Dominican Republic," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 951-999.
    12. Edo, Anthony & Giesing, Yvonne & Öztunc, Jonathan & Poutvaara, Panu, 2019. "Immigration and electoral support for the far-left and the far-right," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 99-143.
    13. Belmonte, Alessandro & Di Lillo, Armando, 2018. "From Italianization to Germanization : Division of Labor, Economic Rents, and Anti-German Attitudes in South Tyrol," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 379, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    14. 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).
    15. Marcus Drometer & Romuald Méango, 2020. "Electoral cycles, partisan effects and US naturalization policies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 183(1), pages 43-68, April.
    16. Alexandre Padilla & Nicolás Cachanosky, 2018. "The Grecian horse: does immigration lead to the deterioration of American institutions?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 174(3), pages 351-405, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Elections; Immigration; Republican Party; Citizenship.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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