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What Explains People’S Attitudes Towards Immigrants? A Comparative Study Of Estonia And Russia


  • Tiiu Paas
  • Olga Demidova


The paper focuses on a comparative analysis of people’s attitudes towards immigrants’ role in several aspects of countries’ life depending on individual’s socio-demographic and economic characteristics in Estonia and Russia. The empirical part of the paper relies on the European Social Survey (ESS) fifth round database. The results of the study show that Estonian peoples’ attitudes towards immigrants are, on average, better in all aspects of the country’s life – economy, culture and the country as a living place, compared to Russia. Both economic and non-economic factors explain the observed variation of individual’s opinions about the role of immigrants in countries’ life. Ethnic minorities, religious people and people with higher income are more tolerant to immigrants in both countries. Socio-demographic characteristics such as age, gender and education are valid determinants of people’s attitudes towards immigrants only in Estonia. Better educated people have more positive attitudes towards immigrants compared to less educated people in the case of Estonia but not Russia. The results of the analysis therefore highlight the necessity to take different factors into account for the design of migration and integration policies in the countries with ethnically diverse population.

Suggested Citation

  • Tiiu Paas & Olga Demidova, 2014. "What Explains People’S Attitudes Towards Immigrants? A Comparative Study Of Estonia And Russia," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 94, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
  • Handle: RePEc:mtk:febawb:94

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tiiu PAAS & Vivika HALAPUU, 2012. "Attitudes towards immigrants and the integration of ethnically diverse societies," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 3, pages 161-176, December.
    2. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2008. "From individual attitudes towards migrants to migration policy outcomes: Theory and evidence," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 651-713, October.
    3. Sanoussi Bilal & Jean-Marie Grether & Jaime de Melo, 2015. "Attitudes Towards Immigration: A Trade Theoretic Approach," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Developing Countries in the World Economy, chapter 18, pages 439-453 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2012. "Individual Attitudes Towards Skilled Migration: An Empirical Analysis Across Countries," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(2), pages 183-196, February.
    5. Malchow-Møller, Nikolaj & Roland Munch, Jakob & Schroll, Sanne & Rose Skaksen, Jan, 2006. "Attitudes Towards Immigration: Does Economic Self-Interest Matter?," Working Papers 11-2006, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
    6. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Ian P. Preston, 2013. "The Effect of Immigration along the Distribution of Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(1), pages 145-173.
    7. O'Rourke, Kevin H. & Sinnott, Richard, 2006. "The determinants of individual attitudes towards immigration," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 838-861, December.
    8. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda & Mariapia Mendola, 2013. "What Drives Individual Attitudes towards Immigration in South Africa?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 326-341, May.
    9. Brenner, Jan & Fertig, Michael, 2006. "Identifying the Determinants of Attitudes towards Immigrants: A Structural Cross-Country Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 2306, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. repec:zbw:rwidps:0047 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item


    attitudes towards immigrants; European Social Survey; comparative analysis; Estonia; Russia;

    JEL classification:

    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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