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Public Opinion on Immigration in Europe: Preference versus Salience

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  • Hatton, Timothy J.

    () (University of Essex)

Abstract

There is growing interest among economists in public opinion towards immigration, something that is often seen as the foundation for restrictive immigration policies. Existing studies have focused on the responses to survey questions on whether the individual would prefer more or less immigration but not on his or her assessment of its importance as a policy issue. Here I distinguish between preference and salience. Analysis of data from the European Social Survey and Eurobarometer indicates that these are associated with different individual-level characteristics. At the national level these two dimensions of public opinion move differently over time and in response to different macro-level variables. The results suggest that both dimensions need to be taken into account when assessing the overall climate of public opinion towards immigration. Finally, there is some evidence that both preference and salience are important influences on immigration policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Hatton, Timothy J., 2017. "Public Opinion on Immigration in Europe: Preference versus Salience," IZA Discussion Papers 10838, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10838
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Tito Boeri, 2010. "Immigration to the Land of Redistribution," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(308), pages 651-687, October.
    2. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda & Riccardo Puglisi, 2009. "Illegal Immigration and Media Exposure: Evidence on Individual Attitudes," Development Working Papers 285, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    3. Timothy J. Hatton, 2016. "Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Policy in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 441-445, May.
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    7. repec:oup:ecpoli:v:32:y:2017:i:91:p:447-496. is not listed on IDEAS
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    13. Timothy J. Hatton, 2016. "Immigration, public opinion and the recession in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 31(86), pages 205-246.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    attitudes to immigration; salience; public opinion;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • 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

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