The Economic and Political Influences on Different Dimensions of United States Immigration Policy

34 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2012

See all articles by Helen V. Milner

Helen V. Milner

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Dustin H. Tingley

Harvard University - Department of Government

Date Written: October 3, 2011

Abstract

Recent research on political attitudes towards immigration often pits arguments emphasizing economic self-interest against ideological or cultural explanations. Many of these studies conceptualize immigration policy along a single dimension instead of disaggregating it into its distinct policy dimensions. Conditional on the type of immigration policy, different explanations should have more or less explanatory power. We disaggregate immigration policy into six different dimensions and provide theoretical scope conditions for when ideological and economic factors should matter. We test these predictions on votes on immigration policy in the US House of Representatives from 1979-2006. We advance the debate on the determinants of immigration policy by showing that both economic self-interest and ideological explanations can be powerful, depending upon the type of immigration policy under consideration.

Keywords: immigration policy, United States, political economy, public opinion, Congress

Suggested Citation

Milner, Helen V. and Tingley, Dustin H., The Economic and Political Influences on Different Dimensions of United States Immigration Policy (October 3, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2182086 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2182086

Helen V. Milner (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States
609-258-0181 (Phone)

Dustin H. Tingley

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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