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What Are You Voting For? Proximity to Refugee Reception Centres and Voting in the 2016 Italian Constitutional Referendum

Author

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  • Bratti, Massimiliano

    () (University of Milan)

  • Deiana, Claudio

    () (University of Essex)

  • Havari, Enkelejda

    () (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)

  • Mazzarella, Gianluca

    (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)

  • Meroni, Elena Claudia

    () (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)

Abstract

In December 2016, the Italian electorate voted for a referendum on crucial constitutional reform promoted by the governing party. The official aims of the reform were both to improve the country’s governability and stability and to simplify the institutional setup. Despite not strictly being a political vote, the referendum was largely perceived as an assessment of the Prime Minister’s work and the activity of his government. Using Italian municipality data, we provide novel empirical evidence on the impact of geographical proximity to refugee reception centres on voting behaviour. Our analysis demonstrates that being closer to refugee centres increased (1) the referendum turnout and (2) the proportion of anti-government votes. This evidence is consistent with the fact that the main opposition parties exploited the anti-immigration sentiments that were mounting in the population to influence people’s voting.

Suggested Citation

  • Bratti, Massimiliano & Deiana, Claudio & Havari, Enkelejda & Mazzarella, Gianluca & Meroni, Elena Claudia, 2017. "What Are You Voting For? Proximity to Refugee Reception Centres and Voting in the 2016 Italian Constitutional Referendum," IZA Discussion Papers 11060, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11060
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    Cited by:

    1. Max Viskanic, 2019. "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 2016-18 | Migrants, Refugees and the rise of Far Right Populism," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/54p3kn4dif9, Sciences Po.
    2. Kolb, Michael & Neidhöfer, Guido & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2019. "Intergenerational mobility and self-selection of asylum seekers in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 19-027, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. Annalisa Frigo & Eric Roca Fernandez, 2019. "Roots of Gender Equality: the Persistent Effect of Beguinages on Attitudes Toward Women," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2019013, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    4. Daams, Michiel N. & Proietti, Paola & Veneri, Paolo, 2019. "The effect of asylum seeker reception centers on nearby house prices: Evidence from The Netherlands," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C).
    5. Kellermann, Kim Leonie & Winter, Simon, 2018. "Immigration and anti-immigrant sentiments: Evidence from the 2017 German parliamentary election," CIW Discussion Papers 5/2018, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    6. Matteo Gamalerio, 2018. "Not Welcome Anymore: The Effect of Electoral Incentives on the Reception of Refugees," CESifo Working Paper Series 7212, CESifo.
    7. Schaub, Max & Gereke, Johanna & Baldassarri, Delia, 2021. "Strangers in Hostile Lands: Exposure to Refugees and Right-Wing Support in Germany’s Eastern Regions," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 686-717.
    8. Zurlinden, Noémie & Valladares-Esteban, Arnau & Gottlieb, Charles, 2020. "The Effects of Asylum Seekers on Political Outcomes," Economics Working Paper Series 2018, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    9. Erminia Florio, 2019. "The Legacy of Historical Emigration: Evidence from Italian Municipalities," CEIS Research Paper 478, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 16 Dec 2019.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    voting; refugee reception centres; referendum; proximity; Constitution; Italy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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