The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy
Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra
Ed. by Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Schirle, Tammy / de Vries, Frans / Zulehner, Christine
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Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration
In this paper we distinguish between three channels that determine attitudes to further immigration: labour market concerns, welfare concerns, and racial or cultural concerns. Our analysis is based on the British Social Attitudes Survey. A unique feature of the survey is that it includes questions on attitudes towards immigration from different origin countries, with populations differing in ethnic similarity to the resident population. It also contains sets of questions relating directly to the labour market, benefit expenditure and welfare concerns, and racial and cultural prejudice. Based on this unique data source, we specify and estimate a multiple factor model that allows comparison of the relative magnitude of association of attitudes to further immigration with the three channels, as well as comparison in responses across potential immigrant groups of different origin. Our results suggest that, overall, welfare concerns play a more important role in determination of attitudes to further immigration than labour market concerns, with their relative magnitude differing across potential emigration regions and characteristics of the respondent. In addition, we find strong evidence that racial or cultural prejudice is an important component to attitudes towards immigration; however, this is restricted to immigration from countries with ethnically different populations.
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