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Do Concerns about Labour Market Competition Shape Attitudes Toward Immigration? New Evidence

44 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 13 Dec 2011

Jens Hainmueller

Stanford University - Department of Political Science; Stanford Graduate School of Business; Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

Michael J. Hiscox

Harvard University

Yotam M. Margalit

Columbia University

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

To what extent are voters' attitudes toward immigration determined by considerations of material self interest and fears about labor market competition? General equilibrium models predict that immigration has negligible effects on the wages and employment of most native workers, and these predictions are generally confirmed by the bulk of the empirical research on the labor market impacts of immigration flows. But several prominent studies have recently examined survey data on voters and argued that fears about labor market competition are actually a potent source of anti-immigrant sentiment. We address several measurement problems that plague the use of survey data in these previous studies by conducting a large targeted survey of current U.S. employees in 12 industries. These industries vary with respect to their exposure to key dimensions of globalization. We test potential relationships between the skill levels, industry locations, occupations, and mobility of these employees and their attitudes towards different types of immigrants. In contrast with previous studies, our tests indicate that fears about labor market competition do not have substantial effects on voter attitudes towards immigration.

Keywords: immigration, political economy, immigration attitudes, survey experiments

JEL Classification: F22, F1, J15

Suggested Citation

Hainmueller, Jens and Hiscox, Michael J. and Margalit, Yotam M., Do Concerns about Labour Market Competition Shape Attitudes Toward Immigration? New Evidence (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper; MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2011-20. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1900149 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1900149

Jens Hainmueller (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~jhain/

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

30 Alta Road
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Michael J. Hiscox

Harvard University ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~hiscox/

Yotam M. Margalit

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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