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Voting over Selective Immigration Policies with Immigration Aversion

Selective immigration policies set lower barriers to entry for skilled workers. However, simple economic intuition suggests that skilled majorities should welcome unskilled immigrants and protect skilled natives. This paper studies the voting over a selective policy in a two-country, three-factor model with skilled and unskilled labor, endogenous migration decisions, costly border enforcement and aversion to immigration. Results show that heterogeneity in capital distribution forces skilled voters to form a coalition with unskilled voters, who become pivotal. The voting outcome is therefore biased towards the preferences of the latter, and consists in a selective protectionism. Finally, immigration aversion helps to explain why skilled majorities do not bring down entry barriers against unskilled workers.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 289.

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Date of creation: 05 Jul 2011
Publication status: Published in Economics of Governance, 2011, vol. 4, pp. 300-326
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:289
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