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Perceived Immigration And Voting Behavior

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A growing number of studies have found significant effects of inflows of migrants on electoral outcomes. However, the role of perceived immigration, which in many European countries is above official migration statistics, is overlooked. This paper investigates the effects of perceived threat of immigration on voting behavior, by looking at whether local elections in Italy were affected by sea arrivals of refugees before the election day. While, upon arrival, refugees cannot freely go to the destination municipality, landing episodes were discussed in the media especially before the elections, thereby influencing voters’ perceptions about the arrivals. We develop an index of exposure to arrivalsthat varies over time and across municipalities depending on the nationality of the incoming refugees. This index captures the impact of perceived immigration on voting behavior, on top of the effects of real immigration as proxied for by the stock of immigrants and the presence of refugee centers. Results show that, in municipalities where refugees are more expected to arrive, participationdecreases, whereas protest votes and support for extreme-right, populist and anti-immigration parties increase. Since these effects are driven by areas with fast broadband availability, we argue that antiimmigration campaigns played a key role.

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  • Bellucci, Davide & Conzo, Pierluigi & Zotti, Roberto, 2019. "Perceived Immigration And Voting Behavior," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201915, University of Turin.
  • Handle: RePEc:uto:dipeco:201915
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    1. Uppfattningar om invandringens storlek påverkar röstandet
      by Niclas Berggren in Nonicoclolasos on 2020-02-24 05:03:08

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    1. Andrea F.M. Martinangeli & Lisa Windsteiger, 2019. "Immigration vs. Poverty: Causal Impact on Demand for Redistribution in a Survey Experiment," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2019-13, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    2. Cerqua, Augusto & Zampollo, Federico, 2021. "Deeds or words? The local influence of anti-immigrant parties on foreigners’ flows in Italy," GLO Discussion Paper Series 876, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Bratti, Massimiliano & Deiana, Claudio & Havari, Enkelejda & Mazzarella, Gianluca & Meroni, Elena Claudia, 2020. "Geographical proximity to refugee reception centres and voting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C).
    4. Gianmarco Daniele & Andrea F.M. Martinangeli & Francesco Passarelli & Willem Sas & Lisa Windsteiger, 2020. "Fear and Loathing in Times of Distress Causal Impact of Social and Economic Insecurity on Anti-Immigration Sentiment," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2020-17, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    5. Chiara Dalle Nogare & Raffaele Scuderi & Enrico Bertacchini, 2021. "Immigrants, voter sentiment, and local public goods: The case of museums," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(5), pages 1087-1112, November.
    6. Windsteiger, Lisa & Martinangeli, Andrea, 2020. "Immigration vs. Poverty: Causal Impact on Demand for Redistribution in a Survey Experiment," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224537, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Andrea F.M. Martinangeli & Lisa Windsteiger, 2019. "Immigration vs. Poverty: Causal Impact on Demand for Redistribution in a Survey Experiment," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2019-13_3, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.

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    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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