Do Sociotropic Concerns Mask Prejudice? Experimental Evidence on the Sources of Public Opposition to Immigration

Omer Solodoch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Does opposition to immigration mostly stem from prejudice or from sociotropic concerns about broad economic and cultural implications on the nation as a whole? Previous work on immigration preferences cannot answer this question because the two explanations are observationally equivalent when focusing on the attitudes of natives. I analyze a unique survey experiment that asks both natives and immigrants of various origins to evaluate different profiles of visa applicants to the Netherlands. The experiment also assigns an “ingroup treatment”—applications by individuals of the same ethnocultural background as the respondent. Using this rich data, I show that sociotropic concerns are the major source of immigration preferences, while ethnic biases play a moderate role. Remarkably, the ingroup treatment has limited effects on admission. However, bias against specific immigrant groups is detected in preferences of immigrant respondents and of those who sympathize with the far-right Freedom Party.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1009-1032
Number of pages24
JournalPolitical Studies
Volume69
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Keywords

  • immigrant attitudes
  • immigration attitudes
  • prejudice
  • sociotropic concerns

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