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Global Migration Centre

Why do immigrants oppose Immigration?

This Research Project combines observational and experimental evidence by surveying resident immigrants in Switzerland and analyzing to what extent economic concerns, national identity, and the political context shape preferences toward new immigrant admission

Global Migration Centre

Why Do Immigrants Oppose Immigration? Comparing Economic, Cultural, and Contextual Explanations

About the project

Why do resident immigrants oppose further immigration to their host country? A number of recent studies have found that immigrants do not necessarily prefer more immigration, but disagree on why that is the case. Some studies argue that opposition to immigration is a result of resident immigrants’ cultural and political integration, i.e., the degree to which they have assimilated to natives’ immigration preferences. In contrast, others posit that opposition is driven rather by concerns about the impact of immigration on the economy and economic self-interest. To compare the relative explanatory power of different hypotheses, this study combines observational and experimental evidence by surveying resident immigrants in Switzerland. Specifically, the study employs a survey experiment in which the respondents are asked to evaluate different profiles of hypothetical prospective immigrants that vary in their economic and cultural characteristics. Bridging the fields of political psychology and political economy, this study’s findings will reveal whether natives and resident immigrants are affected by immigration in the same ways or diverge in crucial aspects. Moreover, the findings also hold political implications for immigrants’ ability to advocate for themselves, their voting behavior, and the governance of diverse societies.



September 2019-September 2023

Funding Organization

Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)

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