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Immigrants' rights and benefits. A public opinion analysis for Spain

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  • Robert Duval-Hernandez
  • Ferran Martinez i Coma

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Duval-Hernandez & Ferran Martinez i Coma, 2012. "Immigrants' rights and benefits. A public opinion analysis for Spain," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 15-2012, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucy:cypeua:15-2012
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    File URL: http://papers.econ.ucy.ac.cy/RePEc/papers/15-12.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kinder, Donald R. & Kiewiet, D. Roderick, 1981. "Sociotropic Politics: The American Case," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 129-161, April.
    2. Muñoz de Bustillo, Rafael & Antón, José-Ignacio, 2009. "Immigration and Social Benefits in a Mediterranean Welfare State: The Case of Spain," MPRA Paper 13849, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Constant, Amelie F. & Gataullina, Liliya & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2009. "Ethnosizing immigrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 274-287, March.
    4. Jim Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman, 2003. "The Political Economy of Immigrationa and Income Redistribution," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0312, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    5. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
    6. González, Libertad & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "How do very open economies adjust to large immigration flows? Evidence from Spanish regions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 57-70, January.
    7. Martínez i Coma, Ferran & Duval Hernández, Robert, 2009. "Hostility Toward Immigration in Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 4109, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Fabio, MARIANI, 2004. "The Political Economy of Immigrants Naturalization," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2004022, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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    Keywords

    Public Opinion; Immigration; Political Economy; Spain;

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