Immigration and Nationalism in the Long Run
110 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2022 Last revised: 8 Jun 2023
Date Written: June 8, 2023
We study the long-term effects of immigration on anti-immigrant sentiment and voting for nationalist parties. Drawing on a natural experiment in post-war Germany where the Allied occupation led to a discontinuous and quasi-exogenous distribution of forced migrants in one region, we examine how a large migrant inflow shapes local voting outcomes and electoral reactions to subsequent immigration between 1949 and 2021. Applying a spatial regression discontinuity design and combining historical migration records with panel data at the municipality level, our results reveal a weaker nationalist backlash against present-day immigration where more migrants settled in the late 1940s. To study the mechanisms, we conduct a geocoded survey with experimental elements and open-ended questions in the study region and find that both family history and local collective memory of immigrant integration contribute to explaining these findings.
Keywords: Migration, Nationalism, Persistence, Voting Behavior
JEL Classification: D72, O15
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