Does Immigration into Their Neighborhoods Incline Voters Toward the Extreme Right? The Case of the Freedom Party of Austria
University of Innsbruck - Department of Public Finance
Alexander F. Wagner
University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Swiss Finance Institute
University of Zurich - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
IZA Discussion Paper No. 6575
This paper explores one potentially important channel through which immigration may drive support for extreme right-wing parties: the presence of immigrants in one's neighborhood. We study the case of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). Under the leadership of Jörg Haider, this party increased its share of votes from less than 5 percent in the early 1980s to 27 percent by the year 1999. Using past regional settlement patterns as a source of exogenous variation, we find a significantly positive effect of the residential proximity of immigrants on FPÖ votes, explaining roughly a quarter of the cross-community variance in FPÖ votes. It is the presence of low- and medium-skilled immigrants that drives this result; high-skilled immigrants have no (or even a negative) effect on FPÖ votes.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Keywords: immigration, political economy, voting
JEL Classification: P16, J61
Date posted: May 26, 2012
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