Seminar with Dominik Hangartner and Anne-Marie Jeannet
As part of its seminar series, the Migration Policy Centre will host the following presentations:
Access to and Consequences of Citizenship – presentation by Dominik Hangartner (ETH Zurich)
In the first part of this presentation, we provide evidence that citizenship catalyses the long-term economic integration of immigrants. Despite the relevance of citizenship policy to immigrant integration, we lack a reliable understanding of the economic consequences of acquiring citizenship. To overcome non-random selection into naturalization, we exploit the quasi-random assignment of citizenship in Swiss municipalities that held referendums to decide the outcome of individual naturalization applications. Our data combine individual-level referendum results with detailed social security records from the Swiss authorities. This allows us to compare the long-term earnings of otherwise similar immigrants who barely won or lost their referendum. We find that winning Swiss citizenship in the referendum increased annual earnings by an average of approximately 5,000 U.S. dollars over the subsequent 15 years. In the second part, we turn to the question what governments can do to boost naturalization rates. We study the effects of a large-scale information campaign, implemented by the City of Zurich, which sent 35,000 immigrants living in Zurich letters informing them that they met eligibility requirements for Swiss citizenship. We find that the naturalization letters more than doubled the citizenship application rate in Zurich when comparing to otherwise similar municipalities that did not send out letters. For governments interested in increasing naturalization rates, these results show that a simple letter informing immigrants of their eligibility can have large, but also highly heterogeneous effects.
Public Preferences for Asylum and Refugee Policy: The Role of Political Trust and Policy Controls – presentation by Anne-Marie Jeannet (Migration Policy Centre, EUI)
This study examines the structure of public preferences for asylum and refugee policy and the role that political trust plays in the formation of these preferences. To do so, we carry out an original conjoint experiment with 12,000 respondents across eight European countries. We find that Europeans are generally supportive of asylum and refugee policies that provide protection and rights but their support is contingent upon policy features that allow a means of control, namely through the implementation of limits or conditions. Our results show that an individual’s trust in the EU’s political institutions has a central role in the formation of these policy preferences. Lower levels of political trust in European institutions reduce individuals’ support for asylum and refugee policies that provide unlimited and unconditional protection, and increase support for policies with highly restrictive features. We also show, however, that even politically distrusting individuals can support policies that provide protection and assistance to refugees if these polices include limits or conditions. Our findings are highly relevant to theoretical understandings of the role of political trust in policy preference formulation, and to ongoing political debates about policy reforms.