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The 2015 Refugee Crisis in Germany: Concerns about Immigration and Populism

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  • Alessandro Sola

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of the refugee crisis, and the related government’s asylum policy, on concerns about immigration of the German population. Exploiting exogenous variation in survey interview timing of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), I employ a difference-in-differences strategy to estimate the short-term causal effect of the refugee crisis on concerns about immigration. The estimated effect is substantial, representing an increase in concerns of around 22%, compared to the pre-refugee crisis baseline level. Interestingly, I find that this increase was twice as large for East Germans, compared to West Germans. In a second section, I show concerns about immigration are positively correlated with political support for the relatively new, right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). However, using the variability in concerns generated by the refugee crisis, I find no evidence of a causal effect of concerns on political preferences in the short term.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Sola, 2018. "The 2015 Refugee Crisis in Germany: Concerns about Immigration and Populism," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 966, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp966
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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.583437.de/diw_sp0966.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chang Woon Nam & Peter Steinhoff, 2019. "The Role of Volunteers in German Refugee Crisis and Their Contribution to Local Government Expenditure," CESifo Forum, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 20(03), pages 25-30, October.
    2. Deole, Sumit S. & Huang, Yue, 2020. "Suffering and prejudice: Do negative emotions predict immigration concerns?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 644, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Concerns about immigration; refugee crisis; Germany; AfD; populism; political preferences;

    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
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H12 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Crisis Management

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