Economic Strain, Education and Attitudes Towards Foreigners in the European Union
14 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2013
Date Written: May 2013
Surveys carried out by the Eurobarometer survey series show a sharp increase in the negative attitudes of European citizens towards foreigners between 1988 and 2003, but a noticeable reversal of this trend between 2003 and 2008. This paper provides a statistical analysis of the determinants of attitudes towards foreigners and analyzes the factors associated with changes in anti‐foreigner sentiment among European citizens. The paper concludes that while rising racial prejudice accounts for a substantial portion of the trend in anti‐foreigner sentiment, economic conditions also matter, with economic strain leading to more negative attitudes. At the same time, educational attainment is shown to be a strong antidote to anti‐foreigner attitudes. Both rising average schooling and more positive attitudes towards foreigners by the highly educated have led to a reversal of the climbing anti‐immigrant sentiments in Europe. The paper discusses policy implications and the potential effects of the European economic collapse since 2008.
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