IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/24733.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Immigration and Redistribution

Author

Listed:
  • Alberto Alesina
  • Armando Miano
  • Stefanie Stantcheva

Abstract

Does immigration change support for redistribution? We design and conduct large-scale surveys and experiments in six countries to investigate how people perceive immigrants and how these perceptions influence their support for redistribution. We find striking 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 economically weaker–less educated, more unemployed, and more reliant on and favored by government transfers–than they actually are. In the experimental part of our paper, we show that simply making respondents think about immigration before asking questions about redistribution makes them support less redistribution, including actual donations to charities. The perception that immigrants are economically weaker and more likely to take advantage of the welfare system is strongly correlated with lower support for redistribution, much more so than the perceived cultural distance or the perceived share of immigrants. These findings are confirmed by further experimental evidence. Information about the true shares and origins of immigrants does not change support for redistribution. An anecdote about a “hard working” immigrant has somewhat stronger effects, but is unable to counteract the negative priming effect of making people think about immigration. Our results further suggest that narratives shape people’s views on immigration 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
    Note: PE POL LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w24733.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Card, 1990. "The Impact of the Mariel Boatlift on the Miami Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
    2. Facchini, Giovanni & Margalit, Yotam & Nakata, Hiroyuki, 2022. "Countering public opposition to immigration: The impact of information campaigns," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    3. Borjas, George J & Freeman, Richard B & Katz, Lawrence, 1996. "Searching for the Effect of Immigration on the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 246-251, May.
    4. Christian Dustmann & Kristine Vasiljeva & Anna Piil Damm, 2019. "Refugee Migration and Electoral Outcomes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(5), pages 2035-2091.
    5. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
    6. David Card, 2009. "Immigration and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 1-21, May.
    7. Mounir Karadja & Johanna Mollerstrom & David Seim, 2017. "Richer (and Holier) Than Thou? The Effect of Relative Income Improvements on Demand for Redistribution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 201-212, May.
    8. Marco Tabellini, 2018. "Gifts of the Immigrants, Woes of the Natives: Lessons from the Age of Mass Migration," Harvard Business School Working Papers 19-005, Harvard Business School, revised Apr 2019.
    9. John E. Roemer & Lee Woojin & Karine van der Straeten, 2007. "Racism, Xenophobia, and Distribution: Multi-issue Politics in Advanced Democracies," Post-Print halshs-00754747, HAL.
    10. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "On the Labor Market Effects of Immigration and Trade," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration and the Work Force: Economic Consequences for the United States and Source Areas, pages 213-244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2007. "Public Finance And Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 1-33, March.
    12. David Card & Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2012. "Immigration, Wages, And Compositional Amenities," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 78-119, February.
    13. 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.
    14. Ilyana Kuziemko & Michael I. Norton & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2015. "How Elastic Are Preferences for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1478-1508, April.
    15. George J. Borjas, 2021. "Native Internal Migration and the Labor Market Impact of Immigration," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Foundational Essays in Immigration Economics, chapter 10, pages 275-312, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    16. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, January.
    17. Alberto Alesina & Stefanie Stantcheva & Edoardo Teso, 2018. "Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(2), pages 521-554, February.
    18. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
    19. Claudia Senik & Holger Stichnoth & Karine Straeten, 2009. "Immigration and Natives’ Attitudes towards the Welfare State: Evidence from the European Social Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 91(3), pages 345-370, May.
    20. Raymond Fisman & Ilyana Kuziemko & Silvia Vannutelli, 0. "Distributional Preferences in Larger Groups: Keeping up with the Joneses and Keeping Track of the Tails," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 1407-1438.
    21. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2009. "Does the Welfare State Affect Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants? Evidence across Countries," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 295-314, May.
    22. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J., 2010. "Attitudes toward Highly Skilled and Low-skilled Immigration: Evidence from a Survey Experiment," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 104(1), pages 61-84, February.
    23. Grigorieff, Alexis & Roth, Christopher & Ubfal, Diego, 2016. "Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants? Representative Evidence from Survey Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 10419, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    24. Matthew Weinzierl, 2018. "Revisiting the Classical View of Benefit‐based Taxation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 37-64, July.
    25. Lockwood, Benjamin B. & Weinzierl, Matthew, 2016. "Positive and normative judgments implicit in U.S. tax policy, and the costs of unequal growth and recessions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 30-47.
    26. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2017. "Inequality, redistribution and cultural integration in the Welfare State," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 122-140.
    27. Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 510-530, August.
    28. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2010. "What Comes to Mind," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1399-1433.
    29. Matz Dahlberg & Karin Edmark & Heléne Lundqvist, 2012. "Ethnic Diversity and Preferences for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(1), pages 41-76.
    30. Cruces, Guillermo & Perez-Truglia, Ricardo & Tetaz, Martin, 2013. "Biased perceptions of income distribution and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from a survey experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 100-112.
    31. Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 157-179, February.
    32. Weinzierl, Matthew, 2014. "The promise of positive optimal taxation: normative diversity and a role for equal sacrifice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 128-142.
    33. Raymond Fisman & Ilyana Kiziemko & Silvia Vannutelli, 2018. "Distributional preferences in larger groups: Keeping up with the Joneses and keeping track of the tails," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-301, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    34. Lee, Woojin & Roemer, John E., 2006. "Racism and redistribution in the United States: A solution to the problem of American exceptionalism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1027-1052, August.
    35. Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2016. "Generalized Social Marginal Welfare Weights for Optimal Tax Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(1), pages 24-45, January.
    36. Sides, John & Citrin, Jack, 2007. "European Opinion About Immigration: The Role of Identities, Interests and Information," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 477-504, July.
    37. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J., 2010. "Attitudes toward Highly Skilled and Low-skilled Immigration: Evidence from a Survey Experiment—Erratum," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 624-624, August.
    38. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2016. "The Political Economy of Heterogeneity and Conflict," CESifo Working Paper Series 6258, CESifo.
    39. Jimmy Charité & Raymond Fisman & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2015. "Reference Points and Redistributive Preferences: Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 21009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    40. Hansen, Jorgen Drud, 2003. "Immigration and income redistribution in welfare states," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 735-746, November.
    41. Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg & Jan Stuhler, 2016. "The Impact of Immigration: Why Do Studies Reach Such Different Results?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(4), pages 31-56, Fall.
    42. Jens Hainmueller & Daniel J. Hopkins, 2015. "The Hidden American Immigration Consensus: A Conjoint Analysis of Attitudes toward Immigrants," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 59(3), pages 529-548, July.
    43. Holger Stichnoth & Karine Van der Straeten, 2013. "Ethnic Diversity, Public Spending, And Individual Support For The Welfare State: A Review Of The Empirical Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(2), pages 364-389, April.
    44. Bansak, Kirk & Hainmueller, Jens & Hangartner, Dominik, 2016. "How economic, humanitarian, and religious concerns shape European attitudes toward asylum seekers," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67898, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Andrea F.M. Martinangeli & Lisa Windsteiger, 2019. "Immigration vs. Poverty: Causal Impact on Demand for Redistribution in a Survey Experiment," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2019-13, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    2. Noel Gaston & Douglas R. Nelson, 2013. "Bridging Trade Theory And Labour Econometrics: The Effects Of International Migration," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(1), pages 98-139, February.
    3. de Bresser, Jochem & Knoef, Marike, 2021. "Preferences for Income Redistribution : A New Survey Item and Experimental Evidence," Other publications TiSEM 246972d6-0fdb-4243-9e34-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    4. Andrea F.M. Martinangeli & Lisa Windsteiger, 2019. "Immigration vs. Poverty: Causal Impact on Demand for Redistribution in a Survey Experiment," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2019-13_3, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    5. de Bresser, Jochem & Knoef, Marike, 2021. "Preferences for Income Redistribution : A New Survey Item and Experimental Evidence," Discussion Paper 2021-035, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Haaland, Ingar & Roth, Christopher, 2020. "Labor market concerns and support for immigration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 191(C).
    7. Windsteiger, Lisa & Martinangeli, Andrea, 2020. "Immigration vs. Poverty: Causal Impact on Demand for Redistribution in a Survey Experiment," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224537, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Philipp Lergetporer & Marc Piopiunik & Lisa Simon, 2017. "Does the Education Level of Refugees Affect Natives' Attitudes?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6832, CESifo.
    9. Rodríguez Chatruc, Marisol & Rozo, Sandra, 2021. "How Does it Feel to Be Part of the Minority?: Impacts of Perspective Taking on Prosocial Behavior," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 11599, Inter-American Development Bank.
    10. Alesina, Alberto & Murard, Elie & Rapoport, Hillel, 2019. "Immigration and Preferences for Redistribution in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 12130, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Kristoffer Balle Hvidberg & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2021. "Social Position and Fairness Views," CESifo Working Paper Series 8928, CESifo.
    12. Moriconi, Simone & Peri, Giovanni & Turati, Riccardo, 2022. "Skill of the immigrants and vote of the natives: Immigration and nationalism in European elections 2007–2016," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
    13. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence Kahn & Nikolai Boboshko & Matthew Comey, 2021. "Th Impact of Selection into the Labor Force on the Gender Wage Gap," CESifo Working Paper Series 9103, CESifo.
    14. Kristoffer B. Hvidberg & Claus Kreiner & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2020. "Social Positions and Fairness Views on Inequality," NBER Working Papers 28099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Bernd Hayo & Florian Neumeier, 2020. "Between Fear Mongers and Samaritans: Does Information Provision Affect Attitudes towards the Right of Asylum in Germany?," MAGKS Papers on Economics 202031, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    16. Anthony Edo & Lionel Ragot & Hillel Rapoport & Sulin Sardoschau & Andreas Steinmayr & Arthur Sweetman, 2020. "An introduction to the economics of immigration in OECD countries," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(4), pages 1365-1403, November.
    17. 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.
    18. Gonnot, Jérôme, 2022. "Taxation with representation: Understanding natives’ attitudes to foreigners’ voting rights," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    19. Lisa Simon, 2019. "Mikroökonometrische Analysen der Determinanten von Individuellem Arbeitsmarkterfolg," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 83.
    20. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J. & Margalit, Yotam, 2015. "Do concerns about labor market competition shape attitudes toward immigration? New evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 193-207.

    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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24733. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.