Immigration and the Rise of the Political Right: The Role of Cultural and Economic Concerns Over Immigration
31 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2015 Last revised: 9 Apr 2016
Date Written: August 7, 2015
With the rise of the far-right parties in the European parliamentary elections, concerns over immigration and national identity have again come into the limelight. In this paper, we document the empirical relationships between immigration, native concerns over the economic and cultural impact of immigration, and the rise of right-wing political parties in Europe. Empirical analysis first establishes the critical and distinct roles played by economic and cultural concerns over immigration in determining citizen’s rightward ideology and voting for right-wing parties. Second, we investigate the determinants of economic and cultural concerns over immigration, finding strong and consistent evidence for the salience hypothesis, which suggests that immigrant share of a country’s population shapes citizen concerns over immigration. Finally, we document the roles of macro-level economic and cultural channels in determining the strength of salience effects.
Keywords: group threat hypothesis, attitudes toward immigrants, cultural threat, public opinion, immigration policy, right-wing politics
JEL Classification: D72, F22, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation