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

62 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2016  

Alexis Grigorieff

University of Oxford

Christopher Roth

University of Oxford

Diego Ubfal

Bocconi University; IGIER

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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: attitudes towards immigrants, biased beliefs, survey experiment, immigration, policy preferences, persistence

JEL Classification: C9, J15, Z1, Z13

Suggested Citation

Grigorieff, Alexis and Roth, Christopher and Ubfal, Diego, Does Information Change Attitudes Towards Immigrants? Representative Evidence from Survey Experiments. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10419. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2889665

Alexis Grigorieff (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Christopher Roth

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Diego Ubfal

Bocconi University ( email )

IGIER ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

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