Immigration and Preferences for Redistribution in Europe

Alberto Alesina (Harvard University)
Elie Murard (IZA)
Hillel Rapoport (Paris School of Economics)

Abstract: We examine the relationship between immigration and attitudes to redistribution using a newly assembled data set of immigrant stocks for 140 regions of 16Western European countries. We combine census and population register records with attitudinal data from the biannual 2002-2016 rounds of the European Social Survey. Exploiting within-country variations in the share of immigrants at the regional level, we nd that native respondents display lower support for redistribution when the share of immigrants in their residence region is higher. This negative association is driven by regions of countries with relatively large Welfare-States and by respondents at the center or at the right of the political spectrum. The eects are also stronger when immigrants originate from Middle-Eastern countries, are less skilled than natives, and experience more residential segregation. We show that these results are unlikely to be driven by immigrants' endogenous location choices ("welfare magnets") or by native respondents' sorting in terms of political aliations.