Seminar: On the causes and effects of attitudes to immigration, 18 June 2019

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from: 11:00
to: 13:00

As part of the Migration Policy Centre seminar series, the Migration Policy Centre will host the following presentations chaired by Elias Dinas, SPS/RSCAS, EUI.

Education and Anti-Immigrant Preferences: How did We Get There?
Charlotte Cavaille, Georgetown University

The strong correlation between education and anti-immigrant preferences is well documented. In a recent study, Cavaille and Marshall (2019) show that this relationship is, at least partly, causal. Yet, the individual-level mechanisms linking more education to lower levels of anti-immigrant sentiment remain poorly understood. In this talk, I present results from a follow-up study seeking to unpack these causal mechanisms. I examine how major compulsory schooling reforms in Germany differentially affected the life trajectories and attitudes of post-reform cohorts compared to pre-reform cohorts. The evidence suggests that education shapes anti-immigrant preferences through its effect on socialization patterns, which in turn affects individuals’ moral values. Indeed, in the German case, receiving more education means working in occupations with less “authoritarian” values. Building on recent advances in the study of morality, I propose a new way of conceptualizing these values, with implications for how we understand their relationship to anti-immigrant preferences.

Under what conditions do populist radical right parties succeed? Issue salience, social stigma and the case of the end of Iberian ‘exceptionalism’
James Dennison, MPC, RSCAS, EUI

This study offers an explanatory model for variation in electoral results for ‘populist radical right’ parties in Europe over time and across countries. We build on and fuse previous explanations to offer a theoretical model that combines supply- and demand-side explanations. We argue that such parties succeed when they are able to avoid the stigma of extremism by initially catering to an unsatiated demand of right-wing voters on a ‘less controversial’, highly salient issue. With their relatively minor place in the party system confirmed and equipped with a ‘reputation shield’ that extremist parties do not enjoy, they are able to refocus on more controversial, other highly salient issues, almost always immigration, potentially leading to greater potential mobilisation. We use the case of the Spanish party Vox, as well as the erstwhile, anomalous lack of success for similar parties across Portugal and Spain, to test our framework. We show that both the historic lack of populist radical right party success across Iberia, the relative greater success in the rest of western Europe and the recent rise of Vox can be explained neatly by this framework of salience, stigma and supply.