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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. Emanuele Bracco & Maria De Paola & Colin Green & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2017. "The Effect Of Far Right Parties On The Location Choice Of Immigrants: Evidence From Lega Nord Mayors," Working Papers 201701, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    2. 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.
    3. Anthony Edo & Yvonne Giesing & Jonathan Öztunc & Panu Poutvaara, 2017. "Immigration and Electoral Support for the Far Left and the Far Right," ifo Working Paper Series 244, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    4. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0663-y is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Mayda, Anna Maria & Peri, Giovanni & Steingress, Walter, 2018. "The Political Impact of Immigration: Evidence from the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 12848, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Markus Drometer & Romuald Méango, 2017. "Electoral Cycles, Partisan Effects and U.S. Naturalization Policies," ifo Working Paper Series 239, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    8. repec:kap:pubcho:v:174:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-018-0509-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Elections; Immigration; Republican Party; Citizenship.;

    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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