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Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration

56 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2001  

Christian Dustmann

University College London; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Ian Preston

University College London - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 2000

Abstract

Hostility towards minorities may sometimes have economic rather than racial motives. Labour market fears, or concerns about the welfare system, are often believed to manifest themselves in hostile attitudes towards population groups that are considered to be competitors for these resources. The question of how attitudes of majority populations towards immigration are determined is of great importance for implementing appropriate policies. We try to separate racial and economic components to such attitudes. Our analysis is based on the British Social Attitudes Survey, which includes questions on attitudes towards immigration from different minority groups, as well as attitudes towards related concerns, like job security and benefit expenditures. We specify and estimate a multiple factor model. The correlation between answers to questions on immigration and on related issues helps us separate different aspects to attitudes. We find that racial attitudes are strongly associated with hostility to immigration from ethnically distinct populations. Furthermore, there is evidence that welfare and labour market concerns are related to attitudes to immigration, but only among skilled and highly educated workers.

Keywords: Immigration, attitudes, minorities, labour market, welfare

JEL Classification: J15, F22

Suggested Citation

Dustmann, Christian and Preston, Ian, Racial and Economic Factors in Attitudes to Immigration (August 2000). IZA Discussion Paper No. 190. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=251991

Christian Dustmann (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7679 5832 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2775 (Fax)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

Ian Preston

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7504 5221 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2713 (Fax)

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