Same Old Newcomers

Kevin Lewis

May 05, 2023

The Surprising Stability of Asian Americans' and Latinos' Partisan Identities in the Early Trump Era
Daniel Hopkins, Cheryl Kaiser & Efren Perez
Journal of Politics, forthcoming 


Two prominent, compatible theoretical accounts contend that Asian Americans and Latinos are not strongly connected to America's political parties and that their partisanship is responsive to identity threats. Donald Trump's political ascent presents a critical test, as Trump reoriented the Republican Party by foregrounding anti-immigrant hostility. Here, we test these perspectives using one of the first-ever population-based panels of English-speaking Asian Americans and English- or Spanish-speaking Latinos fielded in 2016 and 2018. Across various empirical tests, we uncover surprising strength and stability in respondents' partisan identities. In a period of pronounced anti-immigrant rhetoric, these groups remained steadfast in their party affiliation. We also show that pan-ethnic identities were stable over this period and that partisanship can predict subsequent pan-ethnic identities more consistently than the reverse. By 2016, pan-ethnic identities were already stably integrated with partisanship, with little evidence of situational shifts in response to identity threats.

White flight from Asian immigration: Evidence from California Public Schools
Leah Boustan, Christine Cai & Tammy Tseng
Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming 


Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in the US but we know little about how Asian immigration has affected cities, neighborhoods and schools. This paper studies white flight from Asian arrivals in high-socioeconomic-status suburban Californian school districts from 2000-2016 using initial settlement patterns and national immigrant flows to instrument for entry. We find that, as Asian students arrive, white student enrollment declines in these higher-income suburbs. These patterns cannot be fully explained by racial animus, housing prices, or correlations with Black/Hispanic arrivals. Parental fears of academic competition may play a role.

Immigration, Backlash, and Democracy
Ryan Pevnick
American Political Science Review, forthcoming 


How do considerations related to backlash affect the desirability of pursuing otherwise justified immigration policies? This paper argues that backlash-related considerations bear on immigration policy decisions in ways that are both more powerful and complicated than typically recognized. The standard possibility, the egalitarian backlash argument, endorses immigration restrictions in order to protect support for egalitarian distributive institutions. The paper shows that this account does not, by itself, provide a convincing rationale for restricting immigration because such diminished support is (a) likely outweighed by the benefits of more permissive immigration policies and (b) caused by the objectionable preferences of citizens. However, the paper develops an alternative account of the relevance of backlash-related considerations, the democratic backlash argument, which holds that increased levels of immigration threaten to contribute to undermining democratic institutions. This argument provides a more powerful rationale for restricting immigration, one that can -- under identified conditions -- justify immigration restrictions.

The Fiscal Effects of Immigration on Local Governments: Revisiting the Mariel Boatlift
Travis St. Clair
NYU Working Paper, April 2023 


Immigration raises important political and economic questions, yet there remains considerable disagreement about its short- and long-term consequences. This paper examines the fiscal consequences of immigration for local governments. Previous work has shown that there are divergences between the long-term economic benefits of immigration and the short-term fiscal burden posed by recent arrivals, however several influential estimates based on cash-flow accounting suffer from potential bias. I use a quasi-experimental approach to re-examine a famous case: the large wave of Cuban refugees that landed on Miami's shores in 1980, otherwise known as the Mariel Boatlift. Using a synthetic control design, I find that education costs increased in Miami in the aftermath of the Boatlift, leading to higher property tax rates and increased state transfers. These effects persisted for at least ten years. The results shed light on the heterogeneous impacts of immigration over time and space.

Dreaming of Leaving the Nest? Immigration Status and the Living Arrangements of DACAmented
Rania Gihleb, Osea Giuntella & Jakub Lonsky
NBER Working Paper, April 2023 


This study investigates the effects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on the living arrangements and housing behavior of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Using an event-study approach and difference-in-differences (DID) estimates, we compared immigrants above and below eligibility cutoffs and demonstrated that, after the adoption of the policy in June 2012, DACA-eligible immigrants were less likely to live with their parents or in multigenerational households (-12.5%) and more likely to live independently (+15.5%). We also revealed that DACA-eligible immigrants were less likely to live in the same house (-2%) and more likely to quit ethnic enclaves (+8%). Notably, these patterns are not explained by the known effects of DACA on income and employment outcomes. Lower rental costs (-3%) may have facilitated this transition into adulthood and the observed trends in living arrangements. The DACA also led to a decline in marriage rates among DACA-eligible individuals, although we found no evidence of significant effects on cohabitation, divorce, and intermarriage. We also found no evidence of a clear impact on fertility.

White flight from immigration?: Attitudes to diversity and white residential choice
Eric Kaufmann
Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming 

Method: Ordered logit and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) models of destination choice predicted by attitudes toward Brexit, Trump, and immigration.

Results: Whites select significantly less diverse neighborhoods than nonwhites, but there is little or no racial difference in the destinations that white liberals and conservatives, British Brexiteers and Remainers, and American Trump supporters and opponents move to.

The sleeping giant who left for America: Danish land inequality and emigration during the age of mass migration
Nina Boberg-Fazlić, Markus Lampe & Paul Sharp
Explorations in Economic History, forthcoming 


What is the role of access to land for the decision to emigrate? We consider the case of Denmark between 1868 and 1908, when a large number of people left for America. We exploit the fact that the Danish agrarian reforms between 1784 and 1807 had differential impacts on the class of landless laborers around the country, and use detailed parish-level data police protocols of emigrants; population censuses and land registers to show that areas with a more unequal distribution of land witnessed greater emigration. We demonstrate a sizable effect: a one standard deviation increase in the Theil index implies an increase in emigration of 18 percent above the mean.

The pragmatics of foreign accents: The social costs and benefits of being a non-native speaker
Martin Ho Kwan Ip & Anna Papafragou
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, forthcoming 


Speaking with a foreign accent has often been thought to carry several disadvantages. Here, we probe a potential social advantage of non-native compared to native speakers using spoken utterances that either obey or violate the pragmatic principle of Informativeness. In Experiment 1, we show that listeners form different impressions of native and non-native speakers with identical pragmatic behavior: in a context in which omitting information could be deceptive, people rated underinformative speakers more negatively on trustworthiness and interpersonal appeal compared to informative speakers, but this tendency was mitigated for speakers with foreign accents. Furthermore, this mitigating effect was strongest for less proficient non-native speakers who were presumably not fully responsible for their linguistic choices. In Experiment 2, social lenience for non-native speakers emerged even in a non-deceptive context. Contrary to previous studies, there was no consistent global bias against non-native speakers in either experiment, despite their lower intelligibility. Thus the fact that non-native speakers have imperfect control of the linguistic signal affects pragmatic inferences and social evaluation in ways that can lead to surprising social benefits.


from the


A weekly newsletter with free essays from past issues of National Affairs and The Public Interest that shed light on the week's pressing issues.


to your National Affairs subscriber account.

Already a subscriber? Activate your account.


Unlimited access to intelligent essays on the nation’s affairs.

Subscribe to National Affairs.