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Individual attitudes towards skilled migration: an empirical analysis across countries


  • Facchini, Giovanni
  • Mayda, Anna Maria


It is commonly argued that skilled immigration benefits the destination country through several channels. Yet, only a small group of countries reports to have policies in place aimed at increasing the intake of skilled immigrants. Why? In this paper we analyze the factors that affect a direct measure of individual attitudes towards skilled migration, focusing on two main channels: the labor market and the welfare state. We find that more educated natives are less likely to favor skilled immigration - consistent with the labor-market channel - while richer people are more likely to do so - in accordance with the welfare state channel under the tax adjustment model. Our findings thus suggest that the labor market competition threat perceived by skilled natives in the host countries might be driving the observed cautious policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Facchini, Giovanni & Mayda, Anna Maria, 2009. "Individual attitudes towards skilled migration: an empirical analysis across countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 7592, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7592

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francesc Ortega & Giovanni Peri, 2009. "The Causes and Effects of International Migrations: Evidence from OECD Countries 1980-2005," NBER Working Papers 14833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 510-530, August.
    3. Dustmann Christian & Preston Ian P, 2007. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-41, November.
    4. Tommaso Frattini, 2012. "Immigrazione," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 3, pages 363-407, July-Sept.
    5. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants: Welfare-State Determinants Across Countries," Working Papers gueconwpa~06-06-02, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    6. Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2004. "Is Immigration Good or Bad for the Economy? Analysis of Attitudinal Responses," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0406, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    7. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2010. "The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and U.S. Ethnic Invention," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 473-508, July.
    8. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
    9. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J., 2007. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(02), pages 399-442, April.
    10. O'Rourke, Kevin H. & Sinnott, Richard, 2006. "The determinants of individual attitudes towards immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 838-861, December.
    11. Holger Bonin & Bernd Raffelhüschen & Jan Walliser, 2000. "Can Immigration Alleviate the Demographic Burden?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(1), pages 1-1, September.
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    1. repec:lum:rev1rl:v:9:y:2017:i:3:p:61-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Fujita, M. & Weber, S., 2010. "Immigration Quotas in the Globalized Economy," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, issue 7, pages 10-23.
    3. d׳Hombres, Béatrice & Nunziata, Luca, 2016. "Wish you were here? Quasi-experimental evidence on the effect of education on self-reported attitude toward immigrants," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 201-224.
    4. Tiiu Paas & Olga Demidova, 2014. "What Explains People’S Attitudes Towards Immigrants? A Comparative Study Of Estonia And Russia," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 94, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
    5. Huber, Peter & Oberdabernig, Doris A., 2016. "The impact of welfare benefits on natives' and immigrants' attitudes toward immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 53-78.
    6. Hatton, Timothy J., 2014. "Public Opinion on Immigration: Has the Recession Changed Minds?," CEPR Discussion Papers 10008, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. repec:bla:worlde:v:40:y:2017:i:6:p:1068-1088 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Tiiu PAAS & Olga DEMIDOVA, 2014. "How people perceive immigrants’ role in their country’s life: a comparative study of Estonia and Russia," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 5, pages 117-138, December.
    9. Davide Castellani & Maria Mancusi & Grazia Santangelo & Antonello Zanfei, 2015. "Special section: Offshoring, immigration and the labour market: a micro-level perspective," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 42(2), pages 157-162, June.
    10. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_119 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Vincent Fromentin & Olivier Damette & Benteng Zou, 2017. "The Global Economic Crisis and The Effect of Immigrant Workers on Native-born Employment in Europe," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(6), pages 1068-1088, June.
    12. repec:bla:intmig:v:51:y:2017:i:2:p:416-451 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Brenton Peterson & Sonal Pandya & David Leblang, 2014. "Doctors with borders: occupational licensing as an implicit barrier to high skill migration," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 45-63, July.
    14. 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.
    15. Eiji Yamamura & Inyong Shin, 2016. "Effect of consuming imported cultural goods on trading partners’ tolerance toward immigrants: the case of Japanese anime in Korea," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 152(4), pages 681-703, November.
    16. Yamamura, Eiji & Shin, Inyong, 2014. "Effect of consuming imported cultural goods on tolerance for immigrants from trade partners: Case of Japanese anime in Korea," MPRA Paper 58467, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Marco Pecoraro & Didier Ruedin, 2016. "A Foreigner Who Does Not Steal My Job: The Role of Unemployment Risk and Values in Attitudes toward Equal Opportunities," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 628-666, September.
    18. Zaiceva, A. & Zimmermann, K.F., 2016. "Migration and the Demographic Shift," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.
    19. Vincent Fromentin & Olivier Damette & Benteng Zou, 2014. "The global economic crisis and the effect of immigration on the employment of native-born workers in Europe," CREA Discussion Paper Series 14-22, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.

    More about this item


    attitudes; immigration policy; political economy; skilled immigration;

    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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