Immigrants' rights and benefits. A public opinion analysis for Spain
We study the preferences of natives for granting immigrants a set of rights. With a simple political economy model, we predict that unskilled natives oppose granting immigrants access to publicly provided goods when immigrants are relatively unskilled because of the associated competition for these goods. Alternatively, skilled natives oppose granting voting rights out of fear of costly redistributive fiscal policies. The opposite predictions are obtained if immigrants are more skilled than natives. We test these predictions with a dataset of public opinion on immigration in Spain, exploiting individual and regional variation in the data. The data supports these hypotheses in the case of public health services and voting rights. For public education, the results suggest that other considerations may matter more than the fiscal concerns captured in the model.
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