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

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  • Mayda, Anna Maria
  • Peri, Giovanni
  • Steingress, Walter

Abstract

We empirically analyze the impact of immigration to the U.S. on the share of votes to the Republicans and Democrats between 1994 and 2012. Our analysis is based on variation across states and years – using data from the Current Population Survey merged with election data – and addresses the endogeneity of immigrant flows using a novel set of instruments. On average across election types, immigration to the U.S. has a significant and negative impact on the Republican vote share, consistent with the typical view of political analysts in the U.S.. This average effect – which is driven by elections in the House – works through two main channels. The impact of immigration on Republican votes in the House is negative when the share of naturalized migrants in the voting population increases. Yet, it can be positive when the share of non-citizen migrants out of the population goes up and the size of migration makes it a salient policy issue in voters’ minds. These results are consistent with naturalized migrants being less likely to vote for the Republican party than native voters and with native voters’ political preferences moving towards the Republican party because of high immigration of non-citizens. This second effect, however, is significant only for very high levels of immigrant presence.

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  • Mayda, Anna Maria & Peri, Giovanni & Steingress, Walter, 2015. "Immigration to the U.S.: A problem for the Republicans or the Democrats?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11001, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11001
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
    8. Fetzer, Thiemo, 2018. "Did Austerity Cause Brexit?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 381, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Marcus Drometer & Romuald Méango, 2020. "Electoral cycles, partisan effects and US naturalization policies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 183(1), pages 43-68, April.
    12. Becker, Sascha O. & Ferrara, Andreas, 2019. "Consequences of forced migration: A survey of recent findings," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-16.
    13. 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).
    14. 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).
    15. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Citizenship; Elections; Immigration; Republican Party;
    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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