Will Aging Societies Become More Averse to Open Immigration Policies? Evidence Across Countries

27 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2014

See all articles by Simone Schotte

Simone Schotte

German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)

Hernan Winkler

World Bank

Date Written: December 7, 2014

Abstract

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

Schotte, Simone and Winkler, Hernan, Will Aging Societies Become More Averse to Open Immigration Policies? Evidence Across Countries (December 7, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535006 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2535006

Simone Schotte

German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) ( email )

Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
Hamburg, DE D-20354
Germany

Hernan Winkler (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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