Sectoral economies, economic contexts, and attitudes toward immigration

Rafaela M. Dancygier, Michael J. Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations

Abstract

Do economic considerations shape attitudes toward immigration? In this article, we consider the relationship between economic interests and immigration preferences by examining how developments in individuals' sectors of employment affect these views. Using survey data across European countries from 2002 to 2009 and employing new measures of industry-level exposure to immigration, we find that sectoral economies shape opinions about immigration. Individuals employed in growing sectors are more likely to support immigration than are those employed in shrinking sectors. Moreover, the economic context matters: making use of the exogenous shock to national economies represented by the 2008 financial crisis, we show that sector-level inflows of immigrant workers have little effect on preferences when economies are expanding, but that they dampen support for immigration when economic conditions deteriorate and confidence in the economy declines. These sectoral effects remain even when controlling for natives' views about the impact of immigration on the national economy and culture. When evaluating immigration policy, individuals thus appear to take into account whether their sector of employment benefits economically from immigration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-35
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Politics
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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