National Policies, Local Politics, and Citizenship Acquisition: Field Experiments with Elected Officials in Germany

77 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2018  

Jeyhun Alizade

WZB Berlin Social Science Center; Free University of Berlin (FUB)

Rafaela M. Dancygier

Princeton University - Department of Political Science; Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Ruth Ditlmann

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Date Written: May 29, 2018

Abstract

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

Alizade, Jeyhun and Dancygier, Rafaela M. and Ditlmann, Ruth, National Policies, Local Politics, and Citizenship Acquisition: Field Experiments with Elected Officials in Germany (May 29, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3191915 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3191915

Jeyhun Alizade

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

Free University of Berlin (FUB)

Van't-Hoff-Str. 8
Berlin, Berlin 14195
Germany

Rafaela M. Dancygier (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States
609-258-4807 (Phone)

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Ruth Ditlmann

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

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