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

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  • 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9543
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    5. Anna Maria Mayda & Giovanni Peri & Walter Steingress, 2022. "The Political Impact of Immigration: Evidence from the United States," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 358-389, January.
    6. Edo, Anthony & Giesing, Yvonne & Öztunc, Jonathan & Poutvaara, Panu, 2019. "Immigration and electoral support for the far-left and the far-right," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 99-143.
    7. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Max F. Steinhardt & Maurizio Zanardi, 2020. "The political economy of trade and migration: Evidence from the U.S. Congress," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 250-278, July.
    8. Becker, Sascha O. & Ferrara, Andreas, 2019. "Consequences of forced migration: A survey of recent findings," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-16.
    9. Grumstrup, Ethan & Sorensen, Todd A. & Misiuna, Jan & Pachocka, Marta, 2021. "Immigration and Voting Patterns in the European Union: Evidence from Five Case Studies and Cross-Country Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 14164, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. 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).
    11. Belmonte, Alessandro & Di Lillo, Armando, 2018. "The Legacy of Forced Assimilation Policies:Entry Barriers in the Labor Market and Anti-German Sentiments in South Tyrol," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 379, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    12. Carlo Devillanova, 2021. "Tolerant or segregated? Immigration and electoral outcomes in urban areas," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(2), pages 495-515, April.
    13. Alexandre Padilla & Nicolás Cachanosky, 2018. "The Grecian horse: does immigration lead to the deterioration of American institutions?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 174(3), pages 351-405, March.
    14. 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.
    15. Rozo, Sandra V. & Vargas, Juan F., 2021. "Brothers or invaders? How crisis-driven migrants shape voting behavior," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    16. Ajzenman, Nicolas & Dominguez-Rivera, Patricio & Undurraga, Raimundo, 2021. "Immigration, Crime, and Crime (Mis)Perceptions," IZA Discussion Papers 14087, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. 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.
    18. Thiemo Fetzer, 2019. "Did Austerity Cause Brexit?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(11), pages 3849-3886, November.
    19. Nicole Rae Baerg & Julie L. Hotchkiss & Myriam Quispe†Agnoli, 2018. "Documenting the unauthorized: Political responses to unauthorized immigration," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 1-26, March.
    20. Pascal Jaupart, 2018. "Divided island: Haitian immigration and electoral outcomes in the Dominican Republic," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 951-999.
    21. Fetzer, Thiemo, 2018. "Did Austerity Cause Brexit?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 381, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    elections; immigration; Republican Party; citizenship;
    All these keywords.

    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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