Refugee reception, extreme-right voting, and compositional amenities: evidence from Italian municipalities
46 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2018 Last revised: 2 Oct 2021
Date Written: October 1, 2021
We use data from Italy to study the political and social impact of a refugee reception policy (SPRAR) directly managed by local governments, whose features recall the conditions of the contact theory (Allport, 1954). Instrumental variables estimates indicate that municipalities that opened a refugee center between the 2013 and 2018 national elections experienced a change in the vote shares of extreme-right parties approximately 7 percentage points lower compared to towns that did not open a refugee center. We document that the positive impact of SPRARs on “compositional amenities” (i.e., local schools) and population growth allows explaining the negative
impact on anti-immigrants’ prejudice. Finally, we provide evidence of spillovers in prejudice reduction in neighboring municipalities without a SPRAR.
Keywords: Refugee reception, far-right parties, compositional amenities, spillover effects
JEL Classification: C36, D72, J15, P16, R23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation