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Immigration and Redistribution

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Armando Miano
  • Stefanie Stantcheva

Abstract

We design and conduct large-scale surveys and experiments in six countries to investigate how natives perceive immigrants and how these perceptions influence their preferences for redistribution. We find strikingly large misperceptions about the number and characteristics of immigrants: in all countries, respondents greatly overestimate the total number of immigrants, think immigrants are culturally and religiously more distant from them, and are economically weaker -- less educated, more unemployed, and more reliant on and favored by government transfers -- than is the case. Given the very negative baseline views that respondents have of immigrants, simply making them think about immigration before asking questions about redistribution, in a randomized manner, makes them support less redistribution, including actual donations to charities. Information about the true shares and origins of immigrants is ineffective, and mainly acts as a prime that makes people think about immigrants and reduces their support for redistribution. An anecdote about a "hard working'' immigrant is somewhat more effective, suggesting that when it comes to immigration, salience and narratives shape people's views more deeply than hard facts.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alesina & Armando Miano & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2018. "Immigration and Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 24733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24733
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Michela Carlana & Eliana La Ferrara & Paolo Pinotti, 2018. "Revealing Stereotypes: Evidence from Immigrants in Schools," NBER Working Papers 25333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bellucci, Davide & Conzo, Pierluigi & Zotti, Roberto, 2019. "Perceived Immigration And Voting Behavior," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201915, University of Turin.
    4. Simone Moriconi & Giovanni Peri & Riccardo Turati, 2018. "Skill of the Immigrants and Vote of the Natives: Immigration and Nationalism in European Elections 2007-2016," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2018013, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    5. Barrera, Oscar & Guriev, Sergei & Henry, Emeric & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2017. "Facts, Alternative Facts, and Fact Checking in Times of Post-Truth Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 12220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Klaus Abbink & Lu Dong & Lingbo Hugang, 2018. "Talking Behind Your Back: Asymmetric Communication in a Three-person Dilemma," Discussion Papers 2018-11, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    7. Stöhr, Tobias & Wichardt, Philipp C., 2016. "Conflicting identities: Cosmopolitan or anxious? Appreciating concerns of host country population improves attitudes towards immigrants," Kiel Working Papers 2045, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    8. Anthony Edo & Yvonne Giesing & Jonathan Öztunc & Panu Poutvaara, 2018. "Immigration and Electoral Support for the Far-Left and the Far-Right," CESifo Working Paper Series 6918, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Giuranno Michele G. & Biswas Rongili, 2019. "Internal Migration and Public Policy," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(4), pages 1-16, October.
    10. Kleven, Henrik & Landais, Camille & Munoz, Mathilde & Stantcheva, Stefanie, 2019. "Taxation and Migration: Evidence and Policy Implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 13649, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Arnaud Chevalier & Benjamin Elsner & Andreas Lichter & Nico Pestel, 2018. "Immigrant Voters, Taxation and the Size of the Welfare State," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 994, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    12. Francesco Andreoli & Javier Olivera, 2019. "Preferences for redistribution and exposure to tax-benefit schemes in Europe," Working Papers 508, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    13. Mehic, Adrian, 2019. "Immigration and Right-Wing Populism: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Papers 2019:5, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    14. Lu Dong & Lingbo Huang, 2018. "Favoritism and Fairness in Teams," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-15, September.
    15. Sebastiano Della Lena & Fabrizio Panebianco, 2019. "Cultural Transmission with Incomplete Information: Parental Perceived Efficacy and Group Misrepresentation," Working Papers 2019:11, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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