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Public Opinion on Immigration in Europe: Preference versus Salience

Listed author(s):
  • Hatton, Timothy J.

    ()

    (University of Essex)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10838.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2017
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10838
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  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. Timothy J. Hatton, 2016. "Immigration, public opinion and the recession in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 31(86), pages 205-246.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Dustmann Christian & Preston Ian P, 2007. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-41, November.
  6. Facchini, Giovanni & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2011. "What drives U.S. immigration policy? Evidence from congressional roll call votes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 734-743, August.
  7. Jennings, Will, 2009. "The Public Thermostat, Political Responsiveness and Error-Correction: Border Control and Asylum in Britain, 1994–2007," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(04), pages 847-870, October.
  8. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2009. "Does the Welfare State Affect Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants? Evidence across Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 295-314, May.
  9. Thomas Eisensee & David Strömberg, 2007. "News Droughts, News Floods, and U. S. Disaster Relief," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 693-728.
  10. Judith L. Goldstein & Margaret E. Peters, 2014. "Nativism or Economic Threat: Attitudes Toward Immigrants During the Great Recession," International Interactions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 376-401, May.
  11. Kevin Denny & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2013. "Irish Attitudes To Immigration During And After The Boom," Working Papers 201322, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  12. O'Rourke, Kevin H. & Sinnott, Richard, 2006. "The determinants of individual attitudes towards immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 838-861, December.
  13. Hatton, Timothy J., 2016. "Refugees and Asylum Seekers, the Crisis in Europe and the Future of Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 11271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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