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The Determinants of Individual Attitudes Towards Immigration

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  • Kevin H. O'Rourke
  • Richard Sinnott

Abstract

The paper uses a cross-country dataset to investigate the determinants of individual attitudes towards immigration. There are three main conclusions. The first is that attitudes towards immigration are not a function of economic interests alone; rather, they also reflect nationalist sentiment among respondents. The second is that for labour market participants, standard economic theory does a good job of predicting individual attitudes towards immigration. The high-skilled are less opposed to immigration than the low-skilled, and this effect is greater in richer countries than in poorer countries, consistent with Heckscher-Ohlin theory; and in more equal countries than in more unequal ones (consistent with the Borjas theory of immigrant self-selection). On the other hand, non-economic factors are much more important in determining the attitudes of those not in the labour force.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin H. O'Rourke & Richard Sinnott, 2004. "The Determinants of Individual Attitudes Towards Immigration," Trinity Economics Papers 20042, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcduee:20042
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