Is fear of immigration fueled by facts or ignorance?

Are the views of anti-immigrant people shaped by reality, or are they merely opposed to something they don’t know anything about? I attempt to answer this question in this post on an international level. I look at how attitudes towards immigration vary by country.

If it is the countries with few immigrants that are against immigration, then we could reasonably conclude that fear of immigration is driven by speculation and ignorance. As people in low immigration countries have very little experience with immigration. If, however, it is countries with many immigrants that are more against immigration, then we could conclude that the fear of immigration is more evidence- or experience-based.

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Can selective immigration policies backfire?

Most countries generally prefer higher quality immigrants. In most situations, this refers to educated, high-skilled, high-ability and motivated people who will be successful on the labor market. To increase the quality of the immigrant pool, many countries have turned to selective immigration procedures. This basically means that the higher the immigrant’s quality, the easier it will be for them to obtain a visa.

However, while skill and education levels are usually observable by immigration officers, other indicators of quality such as ability or motivation are not. This “duality” of quality characteristics poses some challenges: as we will see, increasing selectivity on observable quality characteristics may actually lead to a decline in overall immigrant quality.

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How is cultural assimilation affected by community leaders?

Why do certain immigrant groups tend to assimilate, while others don’t? This post argues that immigrant institutions (such as religious communities or foreign language media) have an important role in determining the degree of assimilation.

Moreover, altruistic institutions (those who care about their group’s identity and wealth) and extractive institutions (those who only care about the group’s identity to the extent that it increases their own revenue) may have different effects.

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Genetics and development

Genetic diversity is an interesting phenomenon. Too little of it and the population can be too homogeneous, too much of it and there will be a lot of mistrust and conflict. This exactly sounds like something that could potentially influence economic development, doesn’t it?

Research on genetic diversity’s effect on development is quite new. It started with Ashraf and Galor’s (2013) paper, which established the pattern described above: that there is a hump-shaped relationship between genetic diversity and development. Some remain skeptical, however. So let us look at a new take at this question.

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