Immigration and Attitudes toward Redistribution in Europe


Alesina, Alberto, Elie Murad, and Hillel Rapaport. Working Paper. “Immigration and Attitudes toward Redistribution in Europe”.
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We examine the relationship between immigration and attitudes to redistribution by assembling a new dataset of immigrant stocks at the regional level in 140 regions of 16 Western European countries. We combine census and population register records with attitudinal data from the biannual 2002-2014 rounds of the European Social Survey. This data allows us to estimate this relationship by exploiting within-country variations in the share of immigrants across regions and by holding constant welfare policies set at the national level. We find that, relative to other co-nationals, native Europeans have lower support for redistribution when the share of immigrants in their region of residence is higher. This negative relationship between immigration and redistribution is robust to the inclusion of a rich set of regional and individual controls, as well as to using six alternative measures of preferences for redistribution. This negative correlation is confined to self-reported right-wing respondents while the preferences of left-leaning ones remain unaffected by the level of immigration. While immigration from EU15 countries have no detectable effects, immigration from non-European countries is strongly associated with lower support for redistribution. Results suggest the more culturally distant and the poorer are the immigrants, the stronger is the antiredistribution effect on natives

Last updated on 10/03/2018