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Immigration to the U.S.: A Problem for the Republicans or the Democrats?

Author

Listed:
  • Mayda, Anna Maria

    () (Georgetown University)

  • Peri, Giovanni

    () (University of California, Davis)

  • Steingress, Walter

    () (Bank of Canada)

Abstract

We empirically analyze the impact of immigration to the U.S. on the share of votes to the Republicans and Democrats between 1994 and 2012. Our analysis is based on variation across states and years – using data from the Current Population Survey merged with election data – and addresses the endogeneity of immigrant flows using a novel set of instruments. On average across election types, immigration to the U.S. has a significant and negative impact on the Republican vote share, consistent with the typical view of political analysts in the U.S. This average effect – which is driven by elections in the House – works through two main channels. The impact of immigration on Republican votes in the House is negative when the share of naturalized migrants in the voting population increases. Yet, it can be positive when the share of non-citizen migrants out of the population goes up and the size of migration makes it a salient policy issue in voters' minds. These results are consistent with naturalized migrants being less likely to vote for the Republican Party than native voters and with native voters' political preferences moving towards the Republican Party because of high immigration of non-citizens. This second effect, however, is significant only for very high levels of immigrant presence.

Suggested Citation

  • Mayda, Anna Maria & Peri, Giovanni & Steingress, Walter, 2015. "Immigration to the U.S.: A Problem for the Republicans or the Democrats?," IZA Discussion Papers 9543, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9543
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuele Bracco & Maria De Paola & Colin Green & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2017. "The Effect Of Far Right Parties On The Location Choice Of Immigrants: Evidence From Lega Nord Mayors," Working Papers 201701, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    2. Yi Che & Yi Lu & Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott & Zhigang Tao, 2016. "Does Trade Liberalization with China Influence U.S. Elections?," NBER Working Papers 22178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0663-y is not listed on IDEAS
    4. 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 for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Markus Drometer & Romuald Méango, 2017. "Electoral Cycles, Partisan Effects and U.S. Naturalization Policies," ifo Working Paper Series 239, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    6. Louis-Philippe Beland & Bulent Unel, 2018. "The impact of party affiliation of US governors on immigrants’ labor market outcomes," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(2), pages 627-670, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    elections; immigration; Republican Party; citizenship;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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