Explaining Opposition to Refugee Resettlement: The Role of NIMBYism and Perceived Threats

Science Advances 06 Sep 2017: Vol. 3, no. 9, e1700812

7 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2017

See all articles by Jeremy Ferwerda

Jeremy Ferwerda

Dartmouth College

D.J. Flynn

IE School of Global and Public Affairs

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Date Written: September 6, 2017

Abstract

One week after President Donald Trump signed a controversial executive order to reduce the influx of refugees to the United States, we conducted a survey experiment to understand American citizens’ attitudes toward refugee resettlement. Specifically, we evaluated whether citizens consider the geographic context of the resettlement program (that is, local versus national) and the degree to which they are swayed by media frames that increasingly associate refugees with terrorist threats. Our findings highlight a collective action problem: Participants are consistently less supportive of resettlement within their own communities than resettlement elsewhere in the country. This pattern holds across all measured demographic, political, and geographic subsamples within our data. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that threatening media frames significantly reduce support for both national and local resettlement. Conversely, media frames rebutting the threat posed by refugees have no significant effect. Finally, the results indicate that participants in refugee-dense counties are less responsive to threatening frames, suggesting that proximity to previously settled refugees may reduce the impact of perceived security threats.

Keywords: refugees, public opinion, collective action, NIMBY, framing, survey, experiment, United States

JEL Classification: C90, D70, D72, F22, J15, J61, K37, O15

Suggested Citation

Ferwerda, Jeremy and Flynn, D.J. and Horiuchi, Yusaku, Explaining Opposition to Refugee Resettlement: The Role of NIMBYism and Perceived Threats (September 6, 2017). Science Advances 06 Sep 2017: Vol. 3, no. 9, e1700812 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3034351

Jeremy Ferwerda

Dartmouth College ( email )

Department of Sociology
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

D.J. Flynn

IE School of Global and Public Affairs

Calle Pedro de Valdivia 21
Madrid, Madrid 28006
Spain

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/horiuchi/

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