The Deterrent Effect of Voting Against Minarets: Identity Utility and Foreigners' Location Choice

56 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2015

See all articles by Michaela Slotwinski

Michaela Slotwinski

Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Basel; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper uses the vote on the Swiss minaret initiative as a natural experiment to identify the causal effect of negative attitudes towards immigrants on foreigners' location choices and thus indirectly on their utility. Based on a regression discontinuity design with unknown discontinuity points and administrative data on the population of foreigners, we find that the probability of their moving to a municipality that unexpectedly expressed strong reservations decreases initially by about 60 percent. The effect levels off over a period of about 5 months. Consistent with a reduction in the identity utility for immigrants in general, the reaction is not confined to Muslims, whereby high-skilled foreigners seem to be most sensitive to the newly revealed reservations.

Keywords: attitudes, foreigners, identity utility, location choice, RDD

JEL Classification: D83, J61, R23, Z13

Suggested Citation

Slotwinski, Michaela and Stutzer, Alois, The Deterrent Effect of Voting Against Minarets: Identity Utility and Foreigners' Location Choice. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9497. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2690745

Michaela Slotwinski (Contact Author)

Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Basel ( email )

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
4002 Basel
Switzerland
0041 61 267 3361 (Phone)
0041 61 267 3340 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wwz.unibas.ch/stutzer/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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