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Regional Variations in Attitudes Towards Refugees: Evidence from Great Britain

Author

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  • Stephen Drinkwater

    () (Swansey University)

  • Heaven Crawley

    (Swansea University)

  • Rukhsana Kauser

    (University of Westminster)

Abstract

This paper examines changes in public attitudes towards refugees across Britain over almost three decades using data from British Social Attitudes Surveys. It therefore covers the period when immigration as a whole has increased and the number of asylum applications reached their highest levels. The data are examined in periods before and after the rise in asylum applications and from a sub-national perspective because of possible differences in attitudes between areas, as well as in levels and types of inward migration. Overall, the British public appear to have become less tolerant towards refugees. This suggests that rising levels of immigration and asylum, a political discourse which positioned asylum as a particular problem in terms of the management of migration flows and accompanying press coverage have resulted in a hardening of opinions. These changes have occurred despite increased educational attainment amongst the British population, which might be expected to result in more liberal attitudes. The sub-national analysis indicates that people living in London and Scotland display the most tolerant views both before and after the increase in immigration and asylum. However, characteristics such as belonging to an ethnic minority group or possessing a degree, which are higher in London, account for a large portion of the regional variations. Controlling for such factors in regression analysis reduces the differentials relative to London, especially in more recent years.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Drinkwater & Heaven Crawley & Rukhsana Kauser, 2013. "Regional Variations in Attitudes Towards Refugees: Evidence from Great Britain," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1326, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1326
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brian Bell & Francesco Fasani & Stephen Machin, 2013. "Crime and Immigration: Evidence from Large Immigrant Waves," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1278-1290, October.
    2. Artjoms Ivļevs, 2012. "Ageing, Local Birth Rates and Attitudes towards Immigration: Evidence from a Transition Economy," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(7), pages 947-959, November.
    3. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2009. "Does the Welfare State Affect Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants? Evidence across Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 295-314, May.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public attitudes; Regional variations; Immigration; Refugees;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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