Why do citizens prefer high-skilled immigrants to low-skilled immigrants? Identifying causal mechanisms of immigration preferences with a survey experiment

Akira Igarashi, Hirofumi Miwa, Yoshikuni Ono*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Why do citizens prefer high-skilled immigrants to low-skilled immigrants? To understand the causal mechanism behind this tendency among citizens, we conducted a vignette survey experiment that enables us to clarify the role of multiple mediators. We specifically focused on three key factors that have been proposed in existing research as those that could lead citizens to welcome high-skilled immigrants: expectations of economic contribution, welfare contribution, and small crime potential. We found that the skill premium was fully eliminated when natives were informed that immigrants would be engaged in low-skill jobs in the host country, which underscores the essential role that post-migration work plays in the acceptance of immigrants by natives. Our findings provide suggestive evidence that natives welcome high-skilled immigrants simply because they expect economic benefits from high-skilled immigrants, not because they expect them to contribute to welfare or be less likely to commit crimes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch and Politics
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Apr

Keywords

  • attitudes
  • immigration
  • political economy
  • survey experiment
  • voters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Political Science and International Relations

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Why do citizens prefer high-skilled immigrants to low-skilled immigrants? Identifying causal mechanisms of immigration preferences with a survey experiment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this