Preferences for immigration restriction and opinions about immigrants' economic impacts - Evidence from the European Union before the 2004 expansion
We investigate the importance of citizens’ opinions about economic impacts of immigration in their countries to their preferences for immigration restriction. We focus on personal views regarding how immigrants would affect the national labor market and the domestic public finance. Our analysis of survey data from 7 EU countries during the period 2002-2003 suggests that personal opinions about these issues do not explain individual preferences for immigration restriction. We find somewhat unexpectedly that employers were more likely to prefer immigration restriction than the rest. Those who relied on unemployment benefits were less likely to prefer immigration restriction than the others, although they were more likely to anticipate a negative labor market impact of immigration. The higher the relative income position, the lower the likelihood of preferring immigration restriction, and also the lower the likelihood of thinking that immigrants would negatively affect the national labor market. However, those whose income was relatively high were more likely to expect a negative net fiscal impact of immigration than low-income citizens.
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