Will Aging Societies Become More Averse to Open Immigration Policies? Evidence Across Countries
27 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 7, 2014
In aging societies, the elderly will represent an increasingly higher share of the voting population and they will potentially play a more important role in shaping the policy agenda. Using household surveys for twenty-four countries, this paper investigates why the elderly are more averse to open immigration policies than their younger peers. We find that the negative correlation between age and pro-immigration attitudes is mostly explained by a cohort or generational effect. After controlling for birth cohort, the effect of age on pro-immigration attitudes is either positive or zero in most of the countries of our sample. We also find that people are more likely become more pro-immigration over the life-cycle in economies where older individuals participate more actively in the labor market. These results are consistent with the degree of substitutability between immigrant and native workers decreasing with natives’ age. Our estimates suggest that aging societies will tend to become less averse to open immigration regimes over time.
Keywords: Immigration, Aging, Political Economy
JEL Classification: D70, J14, F22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation