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Sectoral Economies, Economic Contexts, and Attitudes toward Immigration

Author(s): Dancygier, Rafaela M.; Donnelly, Michael J.

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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.
Publication Date: Jan-2013
Citation: Dancygier, Rafaela M., Donnelly, Michael J.. (2013). Sectoral Economies, Economic Contexts, and Attitudes toward Immigration. The Journal of Politics, 75 (1), 17 - 35. doi:10.1017/S0022381612000849
DOI: doi:10.1017/S0022381612000849
ISSN: 0022-3816
EISSN: 1468-2508
Pages: 17 - 35
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: The Journal of Politics
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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