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Refugee Migration and Electoral Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Christian Dustman

    () (University College London and CReAM)

  • Kristine Vasiljeva

    () (Kraka)

  • Anna Piil Damm

    () (Aarhus University)

Abstract

To estimate the causal effect of refugee migration on voting outcomes in parliamentary and municipal elections in Denmark, our study is the first that addresses the key problem of immigrant sorting by exploiting a policy that assigned refugee immigrants to municipalities on a quasi-random basis. We find that – in all but the most urban municipalities - allocation of larger refugee shares between electoral cycles leads to an increase in the vote share not only for parties with an anti-immigration agenda but also for centre-right parties, while the vote share for centre-left parties decreases. However, in the largest and most urban municipalities refugee allocation has – if anything – the opposite effect on vote shares for anti-immigration parties. We demonstrate response heterogeneity according to municipal characteristics, with a more pronounced response in less urban municipalities in which the pre-policy shares of both immigrants and the more affluent is high, and in urban municipalities with high unemployment. At the same time, higher pre-policy crime rates are associated with more support for anti-immigration parties in response to refugee allocation in both urban and non-urban municipalities. We also find some evidence that refugee allocation influences voter turnout. Moreover, it has a large impact on the decision of anti-immigration parties’ choice of where to stand for municipal election.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Dustman & Kristine Vasiljeva & Anna Piil Damm, 2016. "Refugee Migration and Electoral Outcomes," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1619, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:crm:wpaper:1619
    as

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    File URL: http://www.cream-migration.org/publ_uploads/CDP_19_16.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Gerdes, Christer & Wadensjö, Eskil, 2008. "The Impact of Immigration on Election Outcomes in Danish Municipalities," IZA Discussion Papers 3586, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. David Card & Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2012. "Immigration, Wages, And Compositional Amenities," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 78-119, February.
    4. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    5. Brunner, Beatrice & Kuhn, Andreas, 2014. "Immigration, Cultural Distance and Natives' Attitudes Towards Immigrants: Evidence from Swiss Voting Results," IZA Discussion Papers 8409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. 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.
    7. Andreas Steinmayr, 2016. "Exposure to Refugees and Voting for the Far-Right. (Unexpected) Results from Austria," WIFO Working Papers 514, WIFO.
    8. Dustmann, Christian & Preston, Ian, 2001. "Attitudes to Ethic Minorities, Ethnic Context and Location Decisions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 353-373, April.
    9. Matz Dahlberg & Karin Edmark & Heléne Lundqvist, 2012. "Ethnic Diversity and Preferences for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(1), pages 41-76.
    10. Otto, Alkis Henri & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2014. "Immigration and election outcomes — Evidence from city districts in Hamburg," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 67-79.
    11. 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.
    12. Damm, Anna Piil, 2014. "Neighborhood quality and labor market outcomes: Evidence from quasi-random neighborhood assignment of immigrants," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 139-166.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; political preferences; re-distribution; welfare; random allocation;

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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