Ole-Petter Moe Hansen
() and Stefan Legge
Ole-Petter Moe Hansen: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Stefan Legge: University of St. Gallen, Postal: University of St.Gallen, Department of Economics, SIAW Institute,, Bodanstrasse 8, , CH-9000 St.Gallen, , Switzerland.
Abstract: In this paper, we explore the trade-off Europe faces when choosing between immigration from poor countries and welfare spending. Using data from the European Social Survey on sixteen countries from 2002-2012, we document that voter preferences shifted in favor of redistribution but polarized over low-skill immigration. Notably, there is a sharp increase in the share of individuals supporting the welfare state but heavily opposing immigration. In order to provide an economic explanation for these phenomena, we present a model where support for both immigration and redistributive policies are potentially motivated by altruism. Using this model, we show how rising unemployment rates, shares of foreign-born citizens and aggregate education can explain observed shifts in policy preferences.
58 pages, October 1, 2015
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