"Fear is the Path to the Dark Side". Electoral Results and the Workplace Safety of Immigrants

51 Pages Posted: 8 May 2021

See all articles by Anna D’Ambrosio

Anna D’Ambrosio

University of Turin

Roberto Leombruni

University of Turin

Tiziano Razzolini

University of Siena

Abstract

Populist parties' propaganda portrays immigrants as a threat to native workers' jobs. When propaganda materializes as an electoral success, it may drive changes in natives' attitudes towards immigrants. As shown experimentally by Bursztyn et al. (2020), electoral results may signal a change in social preferences about immigration and make individuals more likely to express anti-immigrant resentment that they were previously hiding. We employ Italian administrative data to explore whether this mechanism implies actual differences in native and foreign workers' labor market outcomes. We estimate the impact of the electoral results of an Italian populist party, the Lega Nord, on natives and foreigners' workplace injuries and wages. We show that, on average, a 1% increase in the votes for the Lega Nord increases within-job-spell injury rates of foreign workers by 0.9%. Firms below fifteen employees benefiting from less employment protection drive the result. We argue that this is due to a reallocation of hazardous tasks to immigrant workers only in contexts characterized by higher job insecurity. The evidence is weaker for wage reductions, arguably due to labor market rigidity.

JEL Classification: D72, J28, J71

Suggested Citation

D’Ambrosio, Anna and Leombruni, Roberto and Razzolini, Tiziano, "Fear is the Path to the Dark Side". Electoral Results and the Workplace Safety of Immigrants. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14322, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3841903 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3841903

Anna D’Ambrosio (Contact Author)

University of Turin ( email )

Via Po 53
Torino, 10100
Italy

Roberto Leombruni

University of Turin

Tiziano Razzolini

University of Siena

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