English title: Support for Redistribution and Immigration in Advanced Industrialised Societies

Author(s): Gerda Hooijer -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2015

Abstract

Immigration has increased rapidly in most advanced industrialised societies and it has become a salient issue for politics. Studies in Political Economy have examined the political consequences of immigration, most notably by investigating its effect on support for redistribution. These studies often rely on a unidimensional concept of redistribution defined as the preferred amount of redistribution. This paper argues that the full effect of immigration can only be captured by distinguishing two dimensions of redistribution: welfare state generosity and welfare state inclusiveness. While the economic consequences of immigration should influence the first dimension, the cultural consequences should affect the second dimension. The paper also examines the relationship between redistribution and immigration preferences. This relationship matters because voters can respond to the threat of immigration with different policy strategies. The paper argues that the relationship between these preferences varies systematically according to skill level. The empirical analysis tests these claims in a pooled cross-sectional analysis of seventeen West-European countries using data from the European Social Survey from 2002 to 2012. The findings have implications for two important puzzles in Political Economy. They help explain why rising levels of income inequality have not led to an increased demand for redistribution. They also shed light on why large portions of the working class have switched their vote from the left to the right, seemingly voting against their material self-interest. By connecting the economic and cultural effects of immigration, this paper aims to advance our understanding of the politics of redistribution and the politics of immigration.

Conference name: 27th Annual Conference: Inequality in the 21st Century

Location: London

Start date: Jul 2, 2015

Type: Paper

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