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Does Immigration into Their Neighborhoods Incline Voters Toward the Extreme Right? The Case of the Freedom Party of Austria

45 Pages Posted: 26 May 2012  

Martin Halla

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

Josef Zweimüller

University of Zurich - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Abstract

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.

Keywords: immigration, political economy, voting

JEL Classification: P16, J61

Suggested Citation

Halla, Martin and Wagner, Alexander F. and Zweimüller, Josef, Does Immigration into Their Neighborhoods Incline Voters Toward the Extreme Right? The Case of the Freedom Party of Austria. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6575. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2066998

Martin Halla (Contact Author)

University of Innsbruck - Department of Public Finance ( email )

Innrain 52
Innsbruck, 6020
Austria

Alexander F. Wagner

University of Zurich - Department of Banking and Finance ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zürich, 8032
Switzerland
+41 44 634 3963 (Phone)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Swiss Finance Institute ( email )

Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.alex-wagner.com

Josef Zweimueller

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland
+411 634 3724 (Phone)
+411 634 4907 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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