Does Immigration Undermine Public Support for Social Policy?
David Brady & Ryan Finnigan
American Sociological Review, February 2014, Pages 17-42
There has been great interest in the relationship between immigration and the welfare state in recent years, and particularly since Alesina and Glaeser’s (2004) influential work. Following literatures on solidarity and fractionalization, race in the U.S. welfare state, and anti-immigrant sentiments, many contend that immigration undermines public support for social policy. This study analyzes three measures of immigration and six welfare attitudes using 1996 and 2006 International Social Survey Program (ISSP) data for 17 affluent democracies. Based on multi-level and two-way fixed-effects models, our results mostly fail to support the generic hypothesis that immigration undermines public support for social policy. The percent foreign born, net migration, and the 10-year change in the percent foreign born all fail to have robust significant negative effects on welfare attitudes. There is evidence that the percent foreign born significantly undermines the welfare attitude that government “should provide a job for everyone who wants one.” However, there is more robust evidence that net migration and change in percent foreign born have positive effects on welfare attitudes. We conclude that the compensation and chauvinism hypotheses provide greater potential for future research, and we critically consider other ways immigration could undermine the welfare state. Ultimately, this study demonstrates that factors other than immigration are far more important for public support of social policy.
The Upside of Accents: Language, Inter-group Difference, and Attitudes toward Immigration
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming
Many developed democracies are experiencing high immigration, and public attitudes likely shape their policy responses. Prior studies of ethnocentrism and stereotyping make divergent predictions about anti-immigration attitudes. Some contend that culturally distinctive immigrants consistently generate increased opposition; others predict that natives’ reactions depend on the particular cultural distinction and associated stereotypes. This article tests these hypotheses using realistic, video-based experiments with representative American samples. The results refute the expectation that more culturally distinctive immigrants necessarily induce anti-immigration views: exposure to Latino immigrants with darker skin tones or who speak Spanish does not increase restrictionist attitudes. Instead, the impact of out-group cues hinges on their content and related norms, as immigrants who speak accented English seem to counteract negative stereotypes related to immigrant assimilation.
Physiological Arousal and Political Beliefs
Jonathan Renshon, Jooa Julia Lee & Dustin Tingley
Political Psychology, forthcoming
It is by now well known that political attitudes can be affected by emotions. Most earlier studies have focused on emotions generated by some political event (e.g., terrorism or increased immigration). However, the methods used in previous efforts have made it difficult to untangle the various causal pathways that might link emotions to political beliefs. In contrast, we focus on emotions incidental (i.e., irrelevant) to the decision process, allowing us to cleanly trace and estimate the effect of experimentally induced anxiety on political beliefs. Further, we build upon innovative new work that links physiological reactivity (Oxley et al., 2008a; Hatemi, McDermott, Eaves, Kendler, & Neale, 2013) to attitudes by using skin conductance reactivity as a measure of emotional arousal. We found that anxiety — generated by a video stimulus — significantly affected physiological arousal as measured by tonic skin-conductance levels, and that higher physiological reactivity predicted more anti-immigration attitudes. We show that physiological reactivity mediated the relationship between anxiety and political attitudes.
Life Satisfaction in the New Country: A Multilevel Longitudinal Analysis of Effects of Culture and 5-HTT Allele Frequency Distribution in Country of Origin
Emiko Kashima, Stephen Kent & Yoshihisa Kashima
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming
Life satisfaction of migrants to Australia from 17 countries, assessed at 4-5 months, 16-17 months, and 3½ years after arrival, was analyzed with a longitudinal, multilevel analysis. The results indicated that migrants were more satisfied, if the national average life satisfaction was higher in their country of origin, after adjustment for individual-level income, age, and sex and a linear temporal trend. Simultaneously, the migrants were also happier if people in their country of origin had a higher frequency of 5-HTT long allele, a genotype known to be associated with resilience under life stresses. These two relationships were independent, suggesting that both culture and gene matter in international transitions.
Longitudinal Associations of Cultural Distance With Psychological Well-Being Among Australian Immigrants From 49 Countries
Emiko Kashima & Hisham Abu-Rayya
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, forthcoming
Data of 5,033 immigrants from 49 countries/regions to Australia, derived from Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia (LSIA), were analyzed to test a widely held assumption that greater cultural distance (CD) between immigrants’ culture of origin and their destination culture is associated with more adjustment difficulties and thus lower psychological well-being (the CD Hypothesis). Objective measures of CD were constructed from Hofstede’s four value dimensions, Schwartz’s seven dimensions, and Smith et al.’s two dimensions. The hypothesis was tested using multilevel hierarchical regression analyses which controlled for individual-level variations in age, gender, marital status, English language skills, and income. Results revealed limited support for the hypothesis. Whereas the global index of CD based on Smith et al.’s values provided support for the hypothesis, the specific indices of CD, comprised of separate value dimensions, showed a mixed pattern of relationships. Finally, most of the observed CD-well-being links were limited to the earlier phases of settlement and were diminished within 3.5 years after arrival.
New Labour? The Effects of Migration from Central and Eastern Europe on Unemployment and Wages in the UK
Sara Lemos & Jonathan Portes
B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, December 2013, Pages 299–338
The UK was one of only three countries that granted free movement of workers to accession nationals following the enlargement of the European Union in May 2004. The resulting migration inflow, which was substantially larger and faster than anticipated, arguably corresponds more closely to an exogenous supply shock than most migration shocks studied in the literature. We evaluate the impact of this migration inflow – one of the largest in British history – on the UK labour market. We use new monthly micro-level data and an empirical approach that investigates which of several particular labour markets in the UK – with varying degrees of natives’ mobility and migrants’ self-selection – may have been affected. We found little evidence that the inflow of accession migrants contributed to a fall in wages or a rise in claimant unemployment in the UK between 2004 and 2006.
How Durable are Social Norms? Immigrant Trust and Generosity in 132 Countries
John Helliwell, Shun Wang & Jinwen Xu
NBER Working Paper, January 2014
This paper estimates the global prevalence of social trust and generosity among immigrants. We combine individual and national level data from immigrants and native-born respondents in more than 130 countries, using seven waves of the Gallup World Poll (2005-2012). The results show that the effect of source country social trust is about one-third as large as that from trust levels in the destination countries where the migrant now lives. Migrants from low-trust environments are especially affected by the low trust in their country of origin even after migration, while migrants from high-trust environments are less likely to import the high trust of their country of origin to their current country of residence. We also show that, holding constant the effects of imported trust, immigrants and the native-born have similar levels of social trust. We find similar, but smaller, footprint effects for generosity. To help confirm that the footprint effects for social norms represent more than just that it takes time to learn about new surroundings, we undertake similar tests for trust in national institutions, where we would not expect to see footprint effects. In contrast to our social trust and generosity results, and consistent with our expectations, we find no footprint effects for opinions about domestic institutions in the new country.
The Success Frame and Achievement Paradox: The Costs and Consequences for Asian Americans
Jennifer Lee & Min Zhou
Race and Social Problems, March 2014, Pages 38-55
The status attainment model highlights the role of family socioeconomic status (SES) in the intergenerational reproduction of educational attainment; however, the model falls short in predicting the educational outcomes of the children of Asian immigrants, whose attainment exceeds that which would have been predicted based on family SES alone. On the other hand, the cultural capital model gives primacy to the role of middle-class cultural capital in reproducing advantage, but neglects contextual factors outside the family. We fill a theoretical and empirical niche by introducing a model of cultural frames to explain how the children of immigrants whose families exhibit low SES and lack middle-class cultural capital attain exceptional educational outcomes. Based on in-depth interviews with adult children of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants randomly drawn from the survey of Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles, we show that Chinese and Vietnamese immigrant parents and their children use ethnicity as a resource to construct and support a strict “success frame” that helps the poor and working class override their disadvantages. However, there are unintended consequences to adopting such a strict success frame: those who do not meet its exacting tenets feel like ethnic outliers, and as a result, they distance themselves from coethnics and from their ethnic identities because they link achievement with ethnicity. We conclude by underscoring the benefits of decoupling race/ethnicity and achievement for all groups.
Immigration, Jobs, and Employment Protection: Evidence from Europe before and during the Great Recession
Francesco D'Amuri & Giovanni Peri
Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming
In this paper we analyze the impact of immigrants on the type and quantity of native jobs. We use data on 15 Western European countries during the 1996–2010 period. We find that immigrants, by taking manual-routine type of occupations pushed natives towards more “complex” (abstract and communication) jobs. This job upgrade was associated to a 0.7% increase in native wages for a doubling of the immigrants' share. These results are robust to the use of an IV strategy based on past settlement of immigrants across European countries. The job upgrade slowed but did not come to a halt during the Great Recession. We also document the labor market flows behind it: the complexity of jobs offered to new native hires was higher relative to the complexity of lost jobs. Finally, we find evidence that such reallocation was larger in countries with more flexible labor laws.
Migration and Financial Constraints: Evidence from Mexico
University of Michigan Working Paper, December 2013
Using data collected for the evaluation of the rural component of Oportunidades, Mexico's flagship anti-poverty program, I show that poor households' entitlement to an exogenous, temporary but guaranteed income stream increases US migration even if this income is mainly consumed and that some households likely use the entitlement to this income stream as collateral to finance the migration. The individuals who start migrating because of this income shock belong to households with no counterfactual US migrants, come from the middle of the local predicted wage distribution, and worsen migrant skills. These results suggest that financial constraints to international migration are binding for poor Mexicans, some of whom would like to migrate but cannot afford to. If generalizable, they indicate that, as growth and anti-poverty and micro-finance programs relax financial constraints for the poor, Mexican migration to the US will increase and higher levels of border enforcement will likely be needed.
Will the Revolution be Tweeted or Facebooked? Using Digital Communication Tools in Immigrant Activism
Summer Harlow & Lei Guo
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, forthcoming
Considering the debate over U.S. immigration reform and the way digital communication technologies increasingly are being used to spark protests, this qualitative study examines focus group discourse of immigration activists to explore how digital media are transforming the definitions of “activism” and “activist.” Analysis suggests technologies are perhaps pacifying would-be activists, convincing them they are contributing more than they actually are. Thus, “slacktivism,” or “clicktivism” that takes just a mouse click is potentially diluting “real” activism.
Stopping the Enforcement “Tide”: Descriptive Representation, Latino Institutional Empowerment, and State-Level Immigration Policy
Alexandra Filindra & Shanna Pearson-Merkowitz
Politics & Policy, December 2013, Pages 814–832
Studies of descriptive representation have focused on the ability of minority and female legislators to push through legislation that is beneficial to these constituencies. However, little is known concerning the role of such legislators in preventing the enactment of bills noxious to their constituencies' interests. This research note investigates the role of Latino legislators in deterring the introduction and blocking the enactment of restrictive and punitive immigration legislation. Using state-level data from 2007, our results suggest that the relationship between the size of the Latino caucus in a state legislature and the introduction of restrictive bills is not statistically significant, but there is a strong negative statistical correlation between the size of the Latino caucus and the enactment of such laws. The data suggest that descriptive representation may play a role in blocking the passage of legislation harmful to disadvantaged groups.
Impact of Arizona’s SB 1070 Immigration Law on Utilization of Health Care and Public Assistance Among Mexican-Origin Adolescent Mothers and Their Mother Figures
Russell Toomey et al.
American Journal of Public Health, February 2014, Pages S28-S34
Objectives: We examined the impact of Arizona’s “Supporting Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” (SB 1070, enacted July 29, 2010) on the utilization of preventive health care and public assistance among Mexican-origin families.
Methods: Data came from 142 adolescent mothers and 137 mother figures who participated in a quasi-experimental, ongoing longitudinal study of the health and development of Mexican-origin adolescent mothers and their infants (4 waves; March 2007–December 2011). We used general estimating equations to determine whether utilization of preventive health care and public assistance differed before versus after SB 1070’s enactment.
Results: Adolescents reported declines in use of public assistance and were less likely to take their baby to the doctor; compared with older adolescents, younger adolescents were less likely to use preventive health care after SB 1070. Mother figures were less likely to use public assistance after SB 1070 if they were born in the United States and if their post–SB 1070 interview was closer to the law’s enactment.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that immigration policies such as SB 1070 may contribute to decreases in use of preventive health care and public assistance among high-risk populations.
Expedited citizenship for sale: Estimating the effect of Executive Order 13269 on noncitizen military enlistments
Jesse Cunha et al.
Applied Economics, Spring 2014, Pages 1291-1300
This article estimates the effect of offering an expedited citizenship application process to noncitizens for joining the US military. Executive Order (EO) 13269, enacted in July of 2002, allowed noncitizens to apply for US citizenship immediately upon joining the military, effectively reducing the waiting time that is required to apply for citizenship from 3 years to 1 day. We identify the effect of the policy by using administrative personnel data on the universe of military enlistees between 1999 and 2010 along with a difference-in-differences (DD) strategy that uses accessions amongst citizens as the control group. Overall, we find no effect of the offer of expedited citizenship on total accessions amongst noncitizens. However, this overall null effect masks significant shifts of noncitizen enlistments out of combat intensive services and into ‘safer’ services. These results provide the first empirical evidence about this important, and relatively costless, recruiting policy.
Independent effects of bilingualism and socioeconomic status on language ability and executive functioning
Alejandra Calvo & Ellen Bialystok
Cognition, March 2014, Pages 278–288
One hundred and seventy-five children who were 6-years old were assigned to one of four groups that differed in socioeconomic status (SES; working class or middle class) and language background (monolingual or bilingual). The children completed tests of nonverbal intelligence, language tests assessing receptive vocabulary and attention based on picture naming, and two tests of executive functioning. All children performed equivalently on the basic intelligence tests, but performance on the language and executive functioning tasks was influenced by both SES and bilingualism. Middle-class children outperformed working-class children on all measures, and bilingual children obtained lower scores than monolingual children on language tests but higher scores than monolingual children on the executive functioning tasks. There were no interactions with either group factors or task factors. Thus, each of SES and bilingualism contribute significantly and independently to children’s development irrespective of the child’s level on the other factor.
Revisiting the Effects of Case Reports in the News
Mara Ostfeld & Diana Mutz
Political Communication, Winter 2014, Pages 53-72
Synthesizing several theories about the likely impact of case reports in the news, we propose that the impact of featuring identified victims in a news story is contingent on the degree of similarity between the audience member and the identified victims. We execute a population-based survey experiment involving immigration policy to examine our theory. Our results suggest that featuring specific, identified victims in a news story will promote more supportive policy opinions than otherwise identical stories about unidentified victims, but only when the victim is highly similar to the audience member. Conversely, case reports featuring identified people who are dissimilar to the audience member will decrease the extent to which the story encourages victim-supportive policy attitudes. Overall, our experimental findings shed light on the conditions under which the inclusion of case reports increases versus decreases the policy relevance of news stories. Our findings also help explain previous inconsistencies in findings about the impact of case reports. Additional analyses allow us to speculate as to the reasons for the differential direction of effects.
Non-poor Components of Population Growth and Immigration in the U.S., 1990–2010
Isaac Sasson & Arthur Sakamoto
Social Indicators Research, January 2014, Pages 183-201
Traditional measures of poverty are informative in indicating the degree of economic deprivation in a population at a cross-sectional point in time, but they do not consider growth in the size of the non-poverty population. We develop a measure of non-poverty population growth in order to explore whether it constitutes a useful indicator of an important demographic dynamic. We illustrate our approach with an analysis of the U.S. states using Census and American Community Survey data from 1990, 2000, and 2010. The results indicate that the extent to which the non-poor population increased across states is uncorrelated with the initial poverty rate as conventionally measured. Broken down by nativity, the findings further show that some states with official poverty rates above the national average (e.g., Arizona, Georgia, and Texas) nonetheless had some of the highest rates of non-poor population growth among less skilled immigrants. By contrast, other states with official poverty rates below the national average (e.g., Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont) often had low rates of non-poor population growth among less skilled immigrants. These findings suggest that low initial poverty rates do not necessarily contribute substantially to the alleviation of global poverty through the immigration of less skilled persons from less developed nations. However, the rate of non-poor population growth among less skilled immigrants also appears to be uncorrelated with state variation in minimum wages even after taking into account population density and median home value.
Multicultural Policy and Political Support in European Democracies
Jack Citrin, Morris Levy & Matthew Wright
Comparative Political Studies, forthcoming
In response to growing demographic diversity, European countries have selectively implemented political multiculturalism, a set of policies that seek to redefine prevailing conceptions of national identity. We explore the consequences of such policies for mass political support. Applying multi-level modeling to the 2002 and 2010 waves of the European Social Survey and analyzing multiple dependent variables including trust in regime institutions and assessments of the government of the day and the political system’s performance, we show that the extensive adoption of multicultural policies magnifies the degree to which hostility to immigration is negatively associated with political support. This finding, robust to multiple specifications, is corroborated using European Values Survey data. It underscores how policies that challenge citizens’ conceptions of national identity strengthen the link between opposition to immigration and political discontent, furnishing ongoing opportunities for rightist fringe parties to capitalize on anti-immigrant sentiment among the politically alienated.