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Identifying the Determinants of Attitudes towards Immigrants - A Structural Cross-Country Analysis

  • Michael Fertig


  • Jan Brenner

Utilizing subjective data to infer on fundamental issues of individual opinion is associated with severe conceptual and methodological problems.This paper addresses these problems and investigates the attitudes towards immigrants within a cross-country framework. To this end, we utilize data from the first wave of the European Social Survey (ESS) in a structural latent variable model. The determinants of attitudes towards immigrants are estimated by employing different identification restrictions on the model. Our results suggest that educational attainment as well as parental education are the main driving forces behind attitudes formation.Average attitudes across countries further seem to increase with per capita GDP. All our findings are stable across countries and identification strategies.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung in its series RWI Discussion Papers with number 0047.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:dpaper:0047
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  1. Fertig, Michael & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2002. "The Perception of Foreigners and Jews in Germany - A Structural Analysis of a Large Opinion Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 431, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Dustmann, Christian & Preston, Ian, 2001. "Attitudes to Ethic Minorities, Ethnic Context and Location Decisions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 353-73, April.
  3. Kevin H. O'Rourke & R. Sinnott, 2003. "Migration Flows: Political Economy of Migration and the Empirical Challenges," Trinity Economics Papers 20036, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  4. Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2004. "Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0401, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  5. Fertig, Michael & Schmidt, Christoph M, 2001. "First- and Second-Generation Migrants in Germany - What Do We Know and What Do People Think," CEPR Discussion Papers 2803, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Joseph Daniels & Marc von der Ruhr, 2005. "God and the Global Economy: Religion and Attitudes Toward Trade and Immigration in the United States," Working Papers and Research 0501, Marquette University, Center for Global and Economic Studies and Department of Economics.
  7. 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 246-51, May.
  8. Zimmermann, Klaus F. (ed.), 2005. "European Migration: What Do We Know?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199257355.
  9. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants: Welfare-State Determinants across Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1768, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Bauer, Thomas K. & Lofstrom, Magnus & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2000. "Immigration Policy, Assimilation of Immigrants and Natives' Sentiments towards Immigrants: Evidence from 12 OECD-Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 187, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Jens Hainmueller & Michael J. Hiscox, 2005. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," Others 0505013, EconWPA.
  12. Bengt Muthén, 1984. "A general structural equation model with dichotomous, ordered categorical, and continuous latent variable indicators," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 115-132, March.
  13. Muthen, Bengt, 1983. "Latent variable structural equation modeling with categorical data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 43-65.
  14. David Card & Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2005. "Understanding attitudes to immigration: The migration and minority module of the first European Social Survey," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0503, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  15. Christian Dustmann & Ian Preston, 2004. "Is Immigration Good or Bad for the Economy? Analysis of Attitudinal Responses," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0406, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  16. Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Labor Market Competition And Individual Preferences Over Immigration Policy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 133-145, February.
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