National Policies, Local Politics, and Citizenship Acquisition: Field Experiments with Elected Officials in Germany
77 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 29, 2018
Local politicians can play an important role in promoting citizenship, but existing research suggests that helpfulness varies considerably across local councils. We conduct two correspondence studies with local elected officials in Germany to examine what causes politicians to respond to putative immigrants' email requests for help in the naturalization process. We find no evidence that features that are salient in national debates and public opinion predict responsiveness. Specifically, signals of national identification with Germany play no role. Yet, we document a reversed national penalty: Politicians are fifty percent more likely to assist Turks, a low-status group, than Canadians, a high status-group. When probing what causes higher responsiveness to Turks, we show that electoral incentives are a more plausible explanation than is the desire to address Turks' integration problems. Our study indicates that research on citizenship and discrimination needs to consider disconnects between public perceptions, national debates, and local political processes.
Keywords: Citizenship, Immigration, Discrimination, Germany, Field Experiments, Correspondence Study
JEL Classification: D7, J15, J71, H79, C93
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation