Skill of the Immigrants and Vote of the Natives: Immigration and Nationalism in European Elections 2007-2016

50 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Simone Moriconi

Simone Moriconi

IÉSEG School of Management, Lille Campus

Giovanni Peri

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Riccardo Turati

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - School of Economic and Social Research (IRES)

Date Written: September 2018

Abstract

In this paper we document the impact of immigration at the regional level on Europeans’ political preferences as expressed by voting behavior in parliamentary or presidential elections between 2007 and 2016. We combine individual data on party voting with a classification of each party's political agenda on a scale of their "nationalistic" attitudes over 28 elections across 126 parties in 12 countries. To reduce immigrant selection and omitted variable bias, we use immigrant settlements in 2005 and the skill composition of recent immigrant flows as instruments. OLS and IV estimates show that larger inflows of highly educated immigrants were associated with a change in the vote of citizens away from nationalism. However the inflow of less educated immigrants was positively associated with a vote shift towards nationalist positions. These effects were stronger for non-tertiary educated voters and in response to non-European immigrants. We also show that they are consistent with the impact of immigration on individual political preferences, which we estimate using longitudinal data, and on opinions about immigrants. Conversely, immigration did not affect electoral turnout. Simulations based on the estimated coefficients show that immigration policies balancing the number of high-skilled and low-skilled immigrants from outside the EU would be associated with a shift in votes away from nationalist parties in almost all European regions.

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Suggested Citation

Moriconi, Simone and Peri, Giovanni and Turati, Riccardo, Skill of the Immigrants and Vote of the Natives: Immigration and Nationalism in European Elections 2007-2016 (September 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w25077. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254071

Simone Moriconi (Contact Author)

IÉSEG School of Management, Lille Campus ( email )

3 Rue de la Digue
Lille, 59000
France

Giovanni Peri

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States
530-752-3033 (Phone)
530-752-9382 (Fax)

Riccardo Turati

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - School of Economic and Social Research (IRES) ( email )

3, Place Montesquieu
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
Belgium

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