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Session Overview
H02: Immigration and Assimilation
Friday, 20/Aug/2021:
9:00am - 10:30am

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9:00am - 9:22am

Hosting Refugees and Voting for the Far-Right: Evidence from France

Sarah Schneider-Strawczynski

Paris School of Economics, France

Does exposure to refugees change the political preferences of natives towards far-right parties, and how does this change in preferences occur? Using the opening of refugee centers in France between 1995 and 2017, I show that voting for far-right parties in cities with such opening between two presidential elections falls by about 2 percent. The drop in far-right voting is higher in municipalities with a small population, working in the primary and secondary sectors, with low educational levels, and few migrants. I show that this negative effect can not be explained by an economic channel, but rather by a composition channel, through natives' avoidance, and a contact channel, through natives' exposure to refugees. I provide suggestive evidence that too-disruptive exposure to refugees, as measured by the magnitude of the inflows, the cultural distance, and the media salience of refugees, can mitigate the beneficial effects of contact on reducing far-right support.

Schneider-Strawczynski-Hosting Refugees and Voting for the Far-Right-423.pdf

9:22am - 9:45am

Biased Beliefs about Immigration and Economic Concerns: Experimental Evidence

Patrick Bareinz1, Silke Uebelmesser1,2

1University of Jena; 2CESifo

We conduct an information provision experiment to investigate the relevance of statistical information for economic attitudes towards immigration. Our experimental design is embedded into a large-scale representative online survey in Germany. We randomize the provision of information on the share and the unemployment rate of immigrants, representing facts about the size and economic characteristics of the immigrant population. When exposed to factual information about immigration, individuals systematically update their prior beliefs. We further find that information provision decreases economic concerns related to welfare state and labor market effects as well as immigration policy preferences. These effects exert heterogeneity in terms of the specific information provided and are more pronounced for individuals with overestimation biases in beliefs about immigration.

Bareinz-Biased Beliefs about Immigration and Economic Concerns-394.pdf

9:45am - 10:07am

Did the Presence of Immigrants in Local Constituencies Affect the Vote Outcome in the Brexit Referendum?

Hisahiro Naito, Mizuho Asai

University of Tsukuba, Japan

This study examines the effect of the presence of immigrants in voters' constituencies on voters' behaviour, using a data set of the UK referendum on the exit from the EU and post-election survey data. We apply two-stage least squares (2SLS) estimation to control for the endogeneity of the ratio of immigrants by using information on industry composition 25 years ago (1991) as the instrumental variable. We find that contrary to popular media coverage, the presence of immigrants in a local constituency does not increase the share of the vote to leave the EU. Using post-election individual survey data, we find that voters are making systematic errors in perceiving the changes of the level of immigrants. The difference of the perception and the (true) rate of the inflow of immigrants is affected by several demographic factors such as education and age.

Naito-Did the Presence of Immigrants in Local Constituencies Affect the Vote Outcome in the Brexit.pdf

10:07am - 10:30am

The Cultural Assimilation of Individualism and Preferences for Redistribution

Olle Hammar

Uppsala University, Sweden

I analyze the relationship between individualism and preferences for redistribution, using variation in immigrants' countries of origin to capture the impact of cultural values and beliefs on personal attitudes towards income redistribution and equality. Using global individual-level survey data for more than one million individuals (including 65,000 migrants) in a large number of countries around the world, I find strong support for the hypothesis that more individualistic cultures are associated with lower preferences for redistribution. At the same time, cultural assimilation in this dimension seems to take place relatively fast, where the impact of the destination culture starts to dominate the origin culture when an individual has lived as long in the country of destination as she did in her country of origin. Moreover, I find no statistically significant effect of the origin culture on an individual's preferences for redistribution if migration took place before the age of 10.

Hammar-The Cultural Assimilation of Individualism and Preferences-106.pdf

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