Immigration and natives' attitudes towards the welfare state: Evidence from the European Social Survey
Does immigration reduce natives' support for the welfare state? Evidence from the European Social Survey (2002/2003) suggests a more qualified relation. For Europe as a whole, there is only weak evidence of a negative association between the perceived presence of immigrants and natives' support for the welfare state. However, this weak average relationship masks considerable heterogeneity across countries. We distinguish two channels through which immigration could affect natives' support for the welfare state: a pure dislike of immigrants and concerns about the economic consequences of immigration. We find (1) that people who hold both negative views about immigrants generally tend to be less supportive of income redistribution, and (2) that they become even less supportive if they perceive a high share of immigrants in the population.
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