Chapter

Anti-immigration attitudes, support for redistribution and party choice in Europe

Henning Finseraas

in Changing Social Equality

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9781847426604
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305583 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847426604.003.0002
Anti-immigration attitudes, support for redistribution and party choice in Europe

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This chapter investigates two mechanisms through which increasing racial heterogeneity can weaken the political support for redistributive policies in Europe. First, the so-called anti-solidarity hypothesis says that racial heterogeneity undermines the support for redistribution in the electorate. The chapter expands on previous studies by examining the relationship between change in anti-immigration attitudes and change in support for redistribution between 2002 and 2008 in 17 European countries. It finds no support for the anti-solidarity hypothesis. Second, xenophobia might undermine the level of redistribution, even if it does not influence support for redistribution in the electorate, if the group of voters with a leftist view on redistribution but a rightist view on immigration is large and follows its preference on the immigration dimension at the ballot box. The chapter examines in what contexts this group votes for a rightist party. The results show that party positions on immigration and the degree to which immigrants are successfully integrated in the labour market is particularly important for the vote choice of this group of voters.

Keywords: welfare state; xenophobia; anti-immigration attitudes; redistribution; immigration

Chapter.  9313 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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