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Info IEB 32 addresses the issue of anti-immigration voting

  • Authors situate labour competition as a lever for parties with anti-immigration policies

Why do anti-immigrant political parties have more success in areas that host fewer immigrants? This is the question faced by the authors of Info IEB number 32. Recent evidence suggests that, often, anti-immigrant political parties receive most of their electoral support from areas where low shares of immigrants live. This has been seen in Italy, France, the United States, Spain and in the United Kingdom (closely linked with the referendum on Brexit).

To be able to provide a solid and reliable answer to this question, IEB and University of Barcelona researcher, Matteo Gamalerio – along with three other professors from Italian universities – performed an analysis using data from 1,500 municipalities from the richest and biggest Italian region, Lombardia. One of the main findings that could answer the initial question is that the competition in the labor market between natives and immigrants helps to explain the sudden rise in the vote shares for anti-immigrant parties (for the Lega Nord, based on the data in this case).

For this reason, the study suggests that policymakers should take into account the tensions in the labor market when dealing with both immigration and labor market policies.

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