Public Attitudes toward Immigration

Jens Hainmueller

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

Daniel J. Hopkins

University of Pennsylvania

September 2013

Annual Review of Political Science, 2014, Volume 17, Forthcoming

Immigrant populations in many developed democracies have grown rapidly, and so too has an extensive literature on natives’ attitudes toward immigration. This research has developed from two theoretical foundations, one grounded in political economy, the other in political psychology. These two literatures have developed largely in isolation from one another, yet the conclusions that emerge from each are strikingly similar. Consistently, immigration attitudes show little evidence of being strongly correlated with personal economic circumstances. Instead, research finds that immigration attitudes are shaped by sociotropic concerns about its cultural impacts — and to a lesser extent its economic impacts — on the nation as a whole. This pattern of results has held up as scholars have increasingly turned to experimental tests, and it fits the evidence from the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Still, more work is needed to strengthen the causal identification of sociotropic concerns and to isolate precisely how, when, and why they matter for attitude formation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 30

Keywords: immigration attitudes, political economy, political psychology, prejudice, cultural threat, public opinion

JEL Classification: F1, F22, J61, J31, R13

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Date posted: July 4, 2013 ; Last revised: October 2, 2013

Suggested Citation

Hainmueller, Jens and Hopkins, Daniel J., Public Attitudes toward Immigration (September 2013). Annual Review of Political Science, 2014, Volume 17, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2289270 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2289270

Contact Information

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
Daniel J. Hopkins
University of Pennsylvania ( email )
Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.danhopkins.org
Feedback to SSRN

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