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Countering Public Opposition to Immigration: The impact of information campaigns

Author

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  • Giovanni FACCHINI
  • Yotam MARGALIT
  • NAKATA Hiroyuki

Abstract

Popular sentiment toward immigration is often antagonistic, making the integration of migrants one of the most important yet daunting challenges facing societies in advanced economies. Can information campaigns decrease public opposition to immigration? This paper reports results from a large-scale experiment conducted in Japan, a country with highly restrictive immigration laws and widespread anti-immigration sentiment. We exposed a large national sample of citizens to information pertaining to potential social and economic benefits from immigration. Depending on the treatment, we find that this exposure led to increased support for allowing more immigrants into the country by 12-21 percentage points, or over 70% above the baseline rate. The treatments also motivated citizens to take political action in support of a more open immigration policy. Notably, while smaller in magnitude, many effects also persisted 10-12 days after the treatment. The results highlight the potential value of combating enmity to incoming foreigners with campaigns that inform the public about the key positive impacts of immigration.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni FACCHINI & Yotam MARGALIT & NAKATA Hiroyuki, 2017. "Countering Public Opposition to Immigration: The impact of information campaigns," Discussion papers 17094, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  • Handle: RePEc:eti:dpaper:17094
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alexis Grigorieff & Christopher Roth & Diego Ubfal, 2016. "Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants? Representative Evidence from Survey Experiments," Working Papers 590, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    2. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2007. "Public Finance And Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 1-33, March.
    3. Jack Citrin & John Sides, 2008. "Immigration and the Imagined Community in Europe and the United States," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 56, pages 33-56, March.
    4. Claire L. Adida & David D. Laitin & Marie-Anne Valfort, 2010. "Identifying barriers to Muslim integration in France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00618060, HAL.
    5. Marc Helbling & Tim Reeskens & Dietlind Stolle, 2015. "Political Mobilisation, Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion: The Conditional Effect of Political Parties," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 63(1), pages 101-122, March.
    6. Lauren McLaren & Mark Johnson, 2007. "Resources, Group Conflict and Symbols: Explaining Anti-Immigration Hostility in Britain," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 55, pages 709-732, December.
    7. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J. & Margalit, Yotam, 2015. "Do concerns about labor market competition shape attitudes toward immigration? New evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 193-207.
    8. Sides, John & Citrin, Jack, 2007. "European Opinion About Immigration: The Role of Identities, Interests and Information," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(03), pages 477-504, July.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:01:p:35-49_00 is not listed on IDEAS
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    1. repec:esr:resser:bkmnext350 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. NAKATA Hiroyuki, 2017. "Attitudes towards Immigration in an Ageing Society: Evidence from Japan," Discussion papers 17095, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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