Why Do Some Individuals Fear Immigration More than Others? Evidence from Europe

38 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2016 Last revised: 22 Feb 2018

See all articles by Matija Kovacic

Matija Kovacic

Ca Foscari University of Venice - Dipartimento di Economia

Cristina Orso

Ca Foscari University of Venice - Dipartimento di Economia

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Date Written: February 22, 2018

Abstract

In this paper we show that individual preferences for immigration are also shaped by specific non-economic factors. In order to account for non-economic differences in a broader sense, we rely on linguistic relativity hypothesis according to which differences in grammatical structures may induce speakers of distinct languages to conceptualize and experience the world differently (Sapir, 1921; Whorf and Carroll, 1964). Linguistic variation is measured by means of a specific linguistic marker based on the number of grammatical categories (moods) concerned with the expression of uncertainty. We show that more intensive users of these specific grammatical forms are significantly more intolerant toward immigration with respect to other identical individuals speaking a different language/s. This can be attributed to unobserved general attitudes towards risk and uncertainty, since the linguistic marker strongly correlates with the individuals' level of risk aversion (Kovacic et al., 2015). The results are robust to the inclusion of additional set of explanatory and control variables,country and year fixed effects, and alternative samplings.

Keywords: Immigration, Tolerance, Uncertainty, Integration, Culture, Language

JEL Classification: D80, Z13, J15, D83

Suggested Citation

Kovacic, Matija and Orso, Cristina, Why Do Some Individuals Fear Immigration More than Others? Evidence from Europe (February 22, 2018). University Ca' Foscari of Venice, Dept. of Economics Research Paper Series, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2739274 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2739274

Matija Kovacic (Contact Author)

Ca Foscari University of Venice - Dipartimento di Economia ( email )

Cannaregio 873
Venice, 30121
Italy

Cristina Orso

Ca Foscari University of Venice - Dipartimento di Economia ( email )

Cannaregio 873
Venice, 30121
Italy

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