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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
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; political preferences; re-distribution; welfare; random allocation;
    All these keywords.

    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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