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Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration

  • Dustmann, Christian

    ()

    (University College London)

  • Preston, Ian

    ()

    (University College London)

Hostility towards minorities may sometimes have economic rather than racial motives. Labour market fears, or concerns about the welfare system, are often believed to manifest themselves in hostile attitudes towards population groups that are considered to be competitors for these resources. The question of how attitudes of majority populations towards immigration are determined is of great importance for implementing appropriate policies. We try to separate racial and economic components to such attitudes. Our analysis is based on the British Social Attitudes Survey, which includes questions on attitudes towards immigration from different minority groups, as well as attitudes towards related concerns, like job security and benefit expenditures. We specify and estimate a multiple factor model. The correlation between answers to questions on immigration and on related issues helps us separate different aspects to attitudes. We find that racial attitudes are strongly associated with hostility to immigration from ethnically distinct populations. Furthermore, there is evidence that welfare and labour market concerns are related to attitudes to immigration, but only among skilled and highly educated workers.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 190.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy: Advances in Economic Analysis and Policy, 2007, 7 (1), Article 62
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp190
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  15. Robert J. LaLonde & Robert H. Topel, 1989. "Labor Market Adjustments to Increased Immigration," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 55, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  16. Borjas, George J., 1999. "The economic analysis of immigration," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1697-1760 Elsevier.
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  22. Ortega, Javier, 2000. "Pareto-Improving Immigration in an Economy with Equilibrium Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 92-112, January.
  23. Rudolf Winter-Ebmer & Josef Zweimüller, 1999. "Do immigrants displace young native workers: The Austrian experience," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 327-340.
  24. Gang, Ira N. & Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L. & Yun, Myeong-Su, 2002. "Economic Strain, Ethnic Concentration and Attitudes Towards Foreigners in the European Union," IZA Discussion Papers 578, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Globalization and the Perceptions of American Workers," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 109.
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  29. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
  30. Bauer, Thomas K. & Lofstrom, Magnus & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2000. "Immigration Policy, Assimilation of Immigrants and Natives' Sentiments towards Immigrants: Evidence from 12 OECD-Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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