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Bitterness in life and attitudes towards immigration

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  • Steinhardt, Max Friedrich
  • Poutvaara, Panu

Abstract

Immigration is a major challenge and opportunity for rich Western countries. Integration of immigrants is a two-way process, the success of which depends both on immigrants and on natives. We provide new evidence on the determinants of individual attitudes towards immigration, using data from the 2005 and 2010 waves of the German Socio-Economic Panel. In particular, we show that bitterness in life is strongly associated with worries about immigration. This effect cannot be explained just by concerns that immigrants are competing with oneself in the labor market. Instead, it appears that people who feel that they have not got what they deserve in life oppose immigration for spiteful reasons. As economic crises foster bitterness, they are likely to increase public opposition towards immigration, and by this harm integration of immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Steinhardt, Max Friedrich & Poutvaara, Panu, 2015. "Bitterness in life and attitudes towards immigration," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113094, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc15:113094
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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