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How the macroeconomic context impacts on attitudes to immigration: Evidence from within-country variation

Journal article
Authors Joakim Ruist
Published in Social Science Research
Volume 60
Issue November
Pages 125-134
ISSN 0049-089X
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Economics
Pages 125-134
Language en
Keywords Attitudes, Immigration, Macroeconomics, Time series
Subject categories Economics, Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


This study investigates the effects of the macroeconomic context on attitudes to immigration. Earlier studies do in some cases not provide significant empirical support for the existence of important such effects. In this article it is argued that this lack of consistent evidence is mainly due to the cross-national setup of these studies being vulnerable to estimation bias caused by country-specific factors. The present study instead analyzes attitude variation within countries over time. The results provide firm empirical support in favor of macroeconomic variation importantly affecting attitudes to immigration. As an illustration, the estimates indicate that the number of individuals in the average European country in 2012 who were against all immigration from poorer countries outside Europe was 40% higher than it would have been if macroeconomic conditions in that year had been as good as they were in 2006.

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