The Causal Impact of Pandemic Distress on Anti-Immigration Sentiments
70 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2020 Last revised: 7 Feb 2022
Date Written: December 16, 2020
We investigate the causal nexus between pandemic distress and anti-immigration sentiments. We exploit the disruption brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak to randomly provide survey respondents with information on both the economic and health consequences of the pandemic. Overall, we find that pessimistic information causally reinforces the wish to exclude immigrants from access to health care. Further, a pessimistic economic outlook reinforces overall adversity to immigration as well as political radicalisation. Both effects are less pronounced in areas with larger immigrant populations. Our theoretical model pins down two possible mechanisms explaining these results: a zero-sum game to split scarce public resources between residents and immigrants on the one hand and, on the other, fear of contagion.
Keywords: D72, H51, H53, H55, O52, P52
JEL Classification: economic crisis, social crisis, immigration, survey experiment, radical political preferences
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