New CReAM research on the factors that shape individual attitudes towards migration policy

November 4th, 2009 in Other Sciences / Social Sciences

A new research paper from CReAM (Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration at UCL) investigates the factors which determine individual attitudes towards migration policy.

The researchers note that immigration affects a country in many ways, from the economic effects on public spending and on the wages of workers competing with immigrants in the job market, to the cultural effects associated with changing the composition of the population. All of these factors currently figure in popular discussion and it is important to understand which has the biggest influence on generating hostility or openness to immigration policy.

The paper - written by CReAM Fellow David Card and CReAM researchers Christian Dustmann and Ian Preston - presents a method for quantifying the relative importance of economic and cultural channels in shaping attitudes towards immigration. The authors use data from 21 countries in the 2002 European Social Survey, which included a specially-designed questionnaire with a large number of questions on attitudes to migration-related issues, including the economic and social impacts of immigration, and the desirability of increasing or reducing inflows. Their key findings are:

These conclusions don't just apply to the sample as a whole, but also country by country. The researchers found that sociocultural questions are more important than economic questions in almost every country. Moreover, their research shows that the relative importance of such issues is greater when respondents are asked about who are ethnically different, or from poor rather than rich countries.

The researchers conclude: "Immigration changes the habits, culture, and religion of the receiving country's population. These issues play a more important part in shaping views about immigration policy than economic issues."

More information: The research was conducted by CReAM Fellow David Card and CReAM researchers Christian Dustmann and Ian Preston http://www.econ.ucl.ac.uk/cream/. The paper is a CReAM Discussion Paper (DP 29/09) and can be viewed in full at: http://www.econ.ucl.ac.uk/cream/pages/CDP/CDP_29_09.pdf

Source: University College London (news : web)

"New CReAM research on the factors that shape individual attitudes towards migration policy." November 4th, 2009. http://phys.org/news176555921.html