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Electoral systems and immigration

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  • Russo, Giuseppe
  • Salsano, Francesco

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Russo, Giuseppe & Salsano, Francesco, 2012. "Electoral systems and immigration," MPRA Paper 38497, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38497
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    electoral systems; rent extraction; immigration;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

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