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The Political Impact of Immigration: Evidence from the United States

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

Abstract

In this paper we study the impact of immigration to the United States on the vote for the Republican Party by analyzing county-level data on election outcomes between 1990 and 2010. Our main contribution is to separate the effect of high-skilled and low-skilled immigrants, by exploiting the different geography and timing of the inflows of these two groups of immigrants. We find that an increase in the first type of immigrants decreases the share of the Republican vote, while an inflow of the second type increases it. These effects are mainly due to the local impact of immigrants on votes of U.S. citizens and they seem independent of the country of origin of immigrants. We also find that the pro-Republican impact of low-skilled immigrants is stronger in low-skilled and non-urban counties. This is consistent with citizens' political preferences shifting towards the Republican Party in places where low-skilled immigrants are more likely to be perceived as competition in the labor market and for public resources.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12848
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Yi Che & Yi Lu & Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott & Zhigang Tao, 2016. "Does Trade Liberalization with China Influence U.S. Elections?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-039, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic and Fiscal Channels; Electoral Effects; Immigration; Republican Party;

    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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