Does immigration produce a public backlash or public acceptance? Time-series, cross-sectional evidence from 30 European democracies

Claassen, C. and McLaren, L. (2022) Does immigration produce a public backlash or public acceptance? Time-series, cross-sectional evidence from 30 European democracies. British Journal of Political Science, 52(3), pp. 1013-1031. (doi: 10.1017/S0007123421000260)

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Abstract

After decades of relatively high inflows of foreign nationals, immigration is now at the center of substantial political divisions in most European countries and has been implicated in one of the most vexing developments in European politics, the rise of the xenophobic right. However, it is not clear whether high levels of immigration actually do cause a public backlash, or whether publics become habituated to, and supportive of, immigration. This study tests these backlash and habituation theories using novel measures of immigration mood and immigration concern produced by combining over 4,000 opinion datapoints across twenty-nine years and thirty countries. The authors find evidence of a public backlash in the short to medium run, where mood turns negative and concern about immigration rises. Yet the study also finds evidence of a longer-run process of habituation that cancels out the backlash effect within one (concern) to three (mood) decades.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by a British Academy grant to Claassen and McLaren (project number SRG18R1\181191)
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Claassen, Dr Christopher
Authors: Claassen, C., and McLaren, L.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:British Journal of Political Science
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0007-1234
ISSN (Online):1469-2112
Published Online:19 July 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in British Journal of Political Science 52(3): 1013-1031
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
304351Estimating and Predicting Cross-national Changes in Public Mood Regarding ImmigrationChristopher ClaassenBritish Academy (BRITACAD)SRG18R1\181191S&PS - Politics