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Do Refugees Impact Voting Behavior in the Host Country? Evidence from Syrian Refugee Inflows in Turkey

Author

Listed:
  • Altindag, Onur

    () (National Bureau of Economic Research)

  • Kaushal, Neeraj

    () (Columbia University)

Abstract

We study the effect of an influx of approximately three million Syrian refugees on voting behavior in Turkey. We use a difference-in-differences approach, comparing the political outcomes in geographic areas with high and low intensity of refugee presence before and after the beginning of Syrian civil war. To address the endogeneity in refugees’ location choices, we adopt an instrumental variables approach that relies on the historic dispersion of Arabic speakers across Turkish provinces, taking advantage of the fact that Syrians are more likely to settle in locations with high Arabic-speaking host populations. We document a strong polarization in attitudes towards refugees between the supporters and opponents of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP). Regression analyses of monthly survey data, however, suggest that the massive inflow of refugees induced only a modest drop in support for the AKP. We show similarly small, but statistically insignificant impact on actual election outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Altindag, Onur & Kaushal, Neeraj, 2017. "Do Refugees Impact Voting Behavior in the Host Country? Evidence from Syrian Refugee Inflows in Turkey," IZA Discussion Papers 10849, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10849
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christian Dustman & Kristine Vasiljeva & Anna Piil Damm, 2016. "Refugee Migration and Electoral Outcomes," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1619, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Andreas Steinmayr, 2016. "Exposure to Refugees and Voting for the Far-Right. (Unexpected) Results from Austria," WIFO Working Papers 514, WIFO.
    3. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:107:y:2013:i:01:p:57-79_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Otto, Alkis Henri & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2014. "Immigration and election outcomes — Evidence from city districts in Hamburg," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 67-79.
    6. Barone, Guglielmo & D'Ignazio, Alessio & de Blasio, Guido & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2016. "Mr. Rossi, Mr. Hu and politics. The role of immigration in shaping natives' voting behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 1-13.
    7. Del Carpio,Ximena Vanessa & Wagner,Mathis Christoph, 2015. "The impact of Syrian refugees on the Turkish labor market," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7402, The World Bank.
    8. Resul Cesur & Naci H. Mocan, 2013. "Does Secular Education Impact Religiosity, Electoral Participation and the Propensity to Vote for Islamic Parties? Evidence from an Education Reform in a Muslim Country," NBER Working Papers 19769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Sekeris, Petros & Vasilakis, Chrysovalantis, 2016. "The Mediterranean Refugees Crisis and Extreme Right Parties: Evidence from Greece," MPRA Paper 72222, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    attitudes towards refugees; voting behavior in Turkey; Syrian refugees;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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