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Electoral systems and immigration

  • Russo, Giuseppe
  • Salsano, Francesco

We study the effect of electoral systems on openness to immigration. According to the literature, in our model plurality systems induce a rent-seeking policymaker to get re-election through locally provided public goods rather than through transfers, whereas the opposite occurs under proportional representation. In both systems policymakers can use immigration to enlarge the tax base and retrieve increased rents after compensating the decisive majority. However, this mechanism is more effective when the increased tax base does not flow to non-voting immigrants through transfers. Therefore, plurality electoral systems generate more openness to immigration. We find support for this result on a cross-section of 34 OECD countries. In addition, we show that mass immigration \ might incentivize policymakers to get re-election throug public goods rather than transfers also in proportional electoral systems.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 38497.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38497
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  1. Bertocchi, Graziella & Strozzi, Chiara, 2007. "The Evolution of Citizenship: Economic and Institutional Determinants," CEPR Discussion Papers 6066, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. David Coleman, 2008. "The demographic effects of international migration in Europe," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 453-477, Autumn.
  3. Graziella Bertocchi & Chiara Strozzi, 2008. "International Migration and the Role of Institutions," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 012, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  4. Neeraj Kaushal, 2005. "New Immigrants' Location Choices: Magnets without Welfare," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 59-80, January.
  5. repec:oup:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:2:p:609-657 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Alessro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, . "The Provision of Public Goods Under Alternative Electoral Incentives," Penn CARESS Working Papers b96440ba0bfa06ca550ac40aa, Penn Economics Department.
  7. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Constitutional Rules and Fiscal Policy Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 25-45, March.
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