The Origins of Socially and Politically Hostile Attitudes Toward Immigrants and Outgroups: Economics, Ideology, or National Context?

Journal of Political Science, Vol. 31, pp. 101-137, 2003

33 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2011

See all articles by Gregory D. Saxton

Gregory D. Saxton

Schulich School of Business, York University

Michelle Benson

State University of New York at Buffalo

Date Written: November 4, 2003

Abstract

Analyses of the determinants of anti-immigrant hostility remain underdeveloped in the literature. Current research is diminished by competing claims over the primacy of economic, ideological, contextual, or socio-demographic factors. To consolidate past research and work towards a more coherent theory of attitudinal hostility, we argue that it is first necessary to disaggregate the broad notion of hostility into "social" and "policy" hostility. We use the 30th Eurobarometer on Immigrants and Outgroups to test the ability of the economic vulnerability, ideology, and national context arguments to explain levels of socially and politically hostile attitudes to immigrants in five countries of the European Union. The results confirm that not only are social and policy hostility distinct, but ideological factors - both new and old - provide a more cogent account of hostility than either economics or national context. The study finds that attitudinal hostility fundamentally derives from a conjunction of low levels of education and a powerful form of "ideological hostility" that encompasses old-fashioned racism, traditional right-wing ideology, and materialist value orientations.

Keywords: Immigration, immigrants, public opinion, comparative politics

Suggested Citation

Saxton, Gregory D. and Benson, Michelle, The Origins of Socially and Politically Hostile Attitudes Toward Immigrants and Outgroups: Economics, Ideology, or National Context? (November 4, 2003). Journal of Political Science, Vol. 31, pp. 101-137, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1737909

Gregory D. Saxton (Contact Author)

Schulich School of Business, York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://social-metrics.org

Michelle Benson

State University of New York at Buffalo ( email )

12 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14222
United States

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