Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants? Representative Evidence from Survey Experiments

60 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2016 Last revised: 25 Jul 2018

See all articles by Alexis Grigorieff

Alexis Grigorieff

University of Oxford

Christopher Roth

University of Warwick, Faculty of Social Studies, Department of Economics, Students

Diego Ubfal

Africa Gender Innovation Lab, World Bank; IGIER; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: March 10, 2018

Abstract

We study whether providing information about immigrants affects people’s attitude towards them. First, we use a large representative cross-country experiment to show that, when people are told the share of immigrants in their country, they become less likely to state that there are too many of them. Then, we conduct two online experiments in the U.S., where we provide half of the participants with five statistics about immigration, before evaluating their attitude towards immigrants with self-reported and behavioral measures. This more comprehensive intervention improves people’s attitude towards existing immigrants, although it does not change people’s policy preferences regarding immigration. Republicans become more willing to increase legal immigration after receiving the information treatment. Finally, we also measure the same self-reported policy preferences, attitudes, and beliefs in a four-week follow-up, and we show that the treatment effects persist.

Keywords: Biased Beliefs, Survey Experiment, Immigration, Policy Preferences, Persistence

JEL Classification: C90, J15, Z1, Z13

Suggested Citation

Grigorieff, Alexis and Roth, Christopher and Ubfal, Diego, Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants? Representative Evidence from Survey Experiments (March 10, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2768187 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2768187

Alexis Grigorieff

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Christopher Roth (Contact Author)

University of Warwick, Faculty of Social Studies, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Coventry, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Diego Ubfal

Africa Gender Innovation Lab, World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

IGIER ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

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