Immigration

Below, I describe each of four papers dealing with immigration. Each one is related to a common theme in my research - finding the relationships between group memberships and attitudes.

"Fiscal burdens and knowledge of immigration selection criteria" (with Sophie Borwein), Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Forthcoming 2018.

Both scholarly and popular accounts of Canada's relatively non-conflictual immigration politics have attributed substantial power to the selectivity of the country’s immigration policy. In this paper, we use new measures of knowledge of the fiscally selective elements of the immigration system to demonstrate that individuals who know more about the system are, in fact, more supportive of immigration, and that this impact is strongest among those who consider themselves on the left. We argue that this is evidence of the progressive's dilemma, showing in particular that knowledge of welfare state-relevant selection criteria such as the Canadian system's discrimination against those with chronic illnesses or those who are older is much more important in determining the attitudes of respondents on the left than those on the right.

"Sectoral Economies, Economic Contexts and Attitudes toward Immigration" (with Rafaela Dancygier), The Journal of Politics. January 2013, 75(01): 17-35 [winner of the Best Article Prize from the European Politics and Society section of the American Political Science Association]

Do economic considerations shape attitudes toward immigration? In this paper, 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.

"Attitudes toward Immigration in Good Times and Bad" (with Rafaela Dancygier), in Mass Politics in Tough Times: Opinion, Votes and Protest in the Great Recession. 2014. Nancy Bermeo and Larry Bartels, Eds. Chapter 6. New York: Oxford University Press

Immigration is a hotly contested issue across Europe, the United States, and beyond. The large and continuing inflow of migrant newcomers has changed the face of neighborhoods, cities, and countries. In doing so, immigration has at times stirred up conflict and controversy as native citizens and politicians grapple with the implications of immigration and the ethnic diversity it produces. How has the 2008 global economic crisis influenced the public's views about immigration? Has the deteriorating economic climate generated a backlash against immigration? Or are native citizens' concerns about immigrants primarily cultural in nature and impervious to economic trends? In this paper we examine the impact of the economic crisis on attitudes toward immigration, with a focus on how groups traditionally seen as globalization winners and losers react.

Competition and Solidarity: Union members and immigration in Europe, West European Politics. 2016. 39(4): 688–709

A Max Weber Working Paper version (2014, Florence: European University Institute) is available here.

Replication data is available here.

In this paper, I address an understudied question in the comparative political economy of migration. How have trade unions shaped the attitudes of their members toward immigration? Unions are at the core of left wing politics in most European countries, and support for immigration is usually a left-wing position. However, many of the core constituents of unions are those whose interests are most adversely affected by an increase in the supply of labor. I show that the pattern of European trade union leaders becoming supportive of open immigration policies (identified in previous literature) has solidified over the past decade. After discussing how unions have overcome the key economic dilemma in their rhetoric, I provide evidence that this rhetoric has shaped the attitudes of union members, that the effect has become stronger over time, and that the effect is (mostly) robust to the exclusion of countries where self-selection into unions on the basis of ideology is likely to be strongest.