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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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