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The Deterrent Effect of an Anti-Minaret Vote on Foreigners’ Location Choices

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  • Slotwinski, Michaela
  • Stutzer, Alois

Abstract

In a national ballot in 2009, Swiss citizens surprisingly approved an amendment to the Swiss constitution to ban the further construction of minarets. The ballot outcome manifested reservations and anti-immigrant attitudes in regions of Switzerland which had previously been hidden. We exploit this fact as a natural experiment to identify the causal effect of negative attitudes towards immigrants on foreigners’ location choices and thus indirectly on their utility. Based on a regression discontinuity design with unknown discontinuity points and administrative data on the population of foreigners, we find that the probability of their moving to a municipality which unexpectedly expressed stronger reservations decreases initially by about 40 percent. The effect is accompanied by a drop of housing prices in these municipalities and levels off over a period of about 5 months. Moreover, foreigners in high-skill occupations react relatively more strongly highlighting a tension when countries try to attract well-educated professionals from abroad.

Suggested Citation

  • Slotwinski, Michaela & Stutzer, Alois, 2019. "The Deterrent Effect of an Anti-Minaret Vote on Foreigners’ Location Choices," GLO Discussion Paper Series 305, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:305
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    Cited by:

    1. Eugenio Levi & Rama Dasi Mariani & Fabrizio Patriarca, 2020. "Hate at first sight? Dynamic aspects of the electoral impact of migration: the case of Ukip," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(1), pages 1-32, January.
    2. Michaela Slotwinski & Alois Stutzer, 2019. "The deterrent effect of an anti-minaret vote on foreigners’ location choices," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 1043-1095, July.
    3. Lonsky, Jakub, 2020. "Does Immigration Decrease Far-Right Popularity? Evidence from Finnish Municipalities," GLO Discussion Paper Series 540, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Zurlinden, Noémie & Valladares-Esteban, Arnau & Gottlieb, Charles, 2020. "The Effects of Asylum Seekers on Political Outcomes," Economics Working Paper Series 2018, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    5. Roth, Anja, 2019. "How the provision of childcare affects attitudes towards maternal employment," Working papers 2019/22, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    6. Alois Stutzer & Michaela Slotwinski, 2021. "Power sharing at the local level: evidence on opting-in for non-citizen voting rights," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 1-30, March.
    7. Anja Roth, 2020. "How the provision of childcare affects attitudes towards maternal employment," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 156(1), pages 1-30, December.
    8. Jakub Lonsky, 2021. "Does immigration decrease far-right popularity? Evidence from Finnish municipalities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(1), pages 97-139, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    attitudes; foreigners; location choice; popular initiative; regression discontinuity design;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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