Dismantling the 'Jungle': Migrant Relocation and Extreme Voting in France
40 Pages Posted: 6 May 2017 Last revised: 21 May 2019
Date Written: January 9, 2019
Can a small scale inflow of migrants affect electoral outcomes? We study whether the relocation of migrants from the Calais "Jungle" to temporary migrant-centers (CAOs) in France affected the results of the 2017 presidential election. Using an instrumental variables approach that relies on the size of holiday villages present in municipalities, we find that in the presence of a CAO, the percentage growth rate of vote shares for the main far-right party (Front National) between 2012 and 2017 is reduced by about 15.7 percentage points. Given that the FN vote share increased by 20% on average between 2012 and 2017 in French municipalities, this estimation suggests that the growth rate of FN vote in municipalities with a CAO was only 25% the one of municipalities without a CAO (which corresponds to an increase lower by 4 percentage points). These effects, which dissipate spatially and depend on city characteristics and on the size of the inflow, point towards the contact hypothesis (Allport (1954)).
Keywords: Political Economy; Voting; Migration; EU; France; Migrants
JEL Classification: C36, D72, J15, P16, R23
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